Jun 11, 2019
Charlie had to start his life completely over. “It was rough coming right out of prison,” he said. “I had nothing.” The stigma that comes with a criminal record made finding a job challenging for him. “My crime was a big barrier. A lot of people judge me because of it.” Charlie tried an employment program at another organization but did not find success. “They didn’t help me and put me to work like Goodwill did,” he said.
In October of 2018, Charlie was referred to Goodwill’s Offender Success program where he received much more than a job. “I was placed in transitional housing and then referred to job readiness classes,” he said. Goodwill Resource Navigator Sharlisa Allen helped Charlie find the supports he needed and she was impressed by his attitude. “The first time I met Charlie, he was a very determined individual,” she said. “His personality was very upbeat, outgoing, and he always had a smile on his face. He struck me as one who would not allow his past or any circumstances to keep him from accomplishing what he wanted to.”
Sure enough, Charlie moved through employment readiness classes with determination and positivity. He learned résumé writing, interview skills, and the basics of financial management. He also participated in Goodwill’s Managed Employment program, a transitional work experience performing light assembly work in Goodwill’s Industrial Services department. Goodwill staff quickly recognized Charlie as dependable and responsible. “Charlie always followed through on every appointment, request, or whatever was required of him.” Allen said. “He set goals for himself and he achieved them.”
Charlie performed so well in his transitional work that he was recommended for an open position as a baler at Goodwill’s corporate headquarters. He interviewed, and was hired in on December 4, 2018. “I love the people I work with,” Charlie said of his job. “I like my boss. The job is very physical and keeps me busy all day.”
Not only is Charlie working a job he enjoys, his life has changed in other ways. “I am able to go out and buy things I want,” he said. “I have money in the bank. I am now an employee of Goodwill and I rent a house nearby that belongs to Goodwill. My life is great now.”
Charlie is enjoying the fruits of his labor. Allen believes his mindset has everything to do with that. “He learned from his past and he used those experiences to create his future,” she said. He has the mindset of ‘whatever you put your mind to do you can do it’ regardless of any challenges you may face.”
Charlie continues to show gratitude for the support he received. “I am truly thankful for the help that Goodwill has given me,” he said. “Everyone here has been really supportive and that means a lot to me. If I have a problem I can come to anyone at Goodwill. Thanks to this program, I know that I can be a valuable, productive member of society and I am doing that!”
The Offender Success program is a state-wide strategic approach to creating safer neighborhoods and better citizens through the delivery of a seamless plan of services, programming, support, and supervision for prisoners re-entering the community. Program participants are referred by the Michigan Department of Corrections Parole Board.
The Managed Employment program uses time-limited, wage-paying jobs that combine real work, skill development, and supportive services to transition participants rapidly and successfully into the labor market. Participants learn the customs and routines of work, establish an employment record, and generate employer references to enhance their competitiveness. Participation is through eligibility requirements determined through Offender Success and EXIT.