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Success Story: Kawan

Kawan faced a large challenge: re-entering the community after being incarcerated for 20 years. “I had no life,” Kawan said. “Everything had changed. Technology was so fast and many of the neighborhoods that were safe before are now unsafe and rundown. It was like learning a new city all over again. It was scary.”

But Kawan did not give in to fear. He had goals he wanted to accomplish and a new life to pursue. He just needed a hand up. “My parole agent referred me to work with Goodwill. I hoped Goodwill would be able to help me put my goals into action.”

When Kawan first enrolled in Goodwill’s Offender Success program in August, he met with case manager Dina Butler. Together they developed a plan to help Kawan reach his potential. “Kawan was driven to reach his goals,” Butler said. “He just needed people to believe in him and help open a few doors.”

At Goodwill, Kawan completed employment readiness classes and two weeks of transitional employment in Goodwill’s Industrial Services division performing light industrial assembly work contracted with area manufacturers. In this job setting, Kawan practiced employment-related soft skills such as arriving on time, managing breaks, and working with others in a team environment. Additionally, he learned to maintain an expected production rate, move from job-to-job with ease, quality assurance, and other job skills. “I developed my work experience and got myself used to a daily work schedule,” Kawan said. “I also attended classes to polish my résumé, sharpen my interview skills, and learn how to budget my paychecks,”

Kawan attacked every task with positive determination. In fact, his work ethic and attendance were so good that he caught the attention of his supervisor who then recommended him for a position in Goodwill’s retail processing department operating a textile baler. He started as a temporary employee through GoodTemps staffing services in October, and one month later he was hired in as a regular employee by Goodwill.

Kawan did the hard work needed to change his life, but he is very thankful for the support Goodwill has given him. “My attitude, thinking, and self-worth have all improved so much by working with people who believe in me,” Kawan said. “I feel accomplished and fueled to accomplish many more goals I have set for myself. I am glad to be a team member here. Thank you Goodwill for believing in me!”

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