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Success Story: Jeff 

Jeff’s first encounter with Goodwill Janitorial Services Manager Kathy Harris was five years ago, when he was referred through Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) to a hands-on, experiential learning program managed by (now defunct) Kandu Industries. Facing physical and developmental challenges, Jeff had some limited experience working odd jobs at his church and mowing lawns with his father, but wanted to learn more skills and find a job in the community.

While in the program, Jeff was assigned on-the-job janitorial training at a local business where Kathy (at the time working for another employer) became his coach and mentor. Jeff was a quick study, learning the job requirements and participating in a recovery cleaning project.

At the completion of the six-week program, Jeff was unable to secure a community position and returned to working odd jobs. He worked a few hours a week, but really wanted a more stable job with more hours.

After a year passed, Jeff was referred by MRS to Goodwill Job Developer Greg Borgman (who coincidentally worked with Jeff when Greg was employed by Kandu!).

Kathy was recruiting to fill a position on her Janitorial Services night crew and Greg told her about Jeff’s referral. Kathy and Greg both remembered Jeff’s training and potential and reached out to his parents through MRS. They discovered that Jeff was very interested in pursuing janitorial work, especially vacuum cleaning, which is one of his strengths.

Jeff met the criteria for the position and came into Goodwill for a Vocational Evaluation/ Situational Assessment administered by Greg. Within a few weeks he was offered a position with Goodwill’s night cleaning crew.

From there Jeff continued to flourish, conquering his fear of heights and stairs, and building his social skills with his teammates on the crew. Jeff learned the techniques for cleaning restrooms, common areas, mastering general cleaning, and quietly learning the skills of leadership and camaraderie with his coworkers.

In June of 2017, Jeff was asked to serve as a mentor for Goodwill’s Janitorial Occupational Training program participants. He has been successful in the multi-level and sometimes uneven grounds of Blue Lake Fine Summer Camp where the trainees hone their skills. Jeff serves his team as one of the anchors for the program, ensuring that all quality standards are met, while the new participants are practicing their newly learned skills.

“Jeff has been an inspiration to all of us in Janitorial Services,” Kathy said. “He has an excellent attitude, great skill set, an awesome sense of humor, and genuine empathy for his coworkers and customers. His customer service skills are outstanding. He is a fine representative of Goodwill in the community, and exemplifies excellence through the power of work.”

Vocational Evaluation
Goodwill provides in-depth, comprehensive diagnostic assessment and evaluation encompassing: physical capabilities, vocational interests, aptitude testing, knowledge of occupational information, academic skills, verbal/ cognitive skills, work skills and work tolerance, general work habits and characteristics, and vocational options and objectives. Vocational Evaluations can be carried out through standardized testing, physical ability testing, and on-the-job observations of skills and needs. Individuals are referred through Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and other community organizations.

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