Mar 21, 2022
“Before I came to Goodwill, life was hectic,” Kyren said. “I was struggling with frustration and depression. I struggled a ton with opening up around people and really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when it came to work.”
Kyren Kimball came to Goodwill seeking services in May of 2021. “Joe (Gordon) is my former youth pastor. He told my mother and me about the IGNITE program and I thought it would help me take steps toward figuring out where I want to go. I have autism and having an emotional disability is hard. I struggle with relating to people, reading people, and even standing up for myself. It makes it hard to learn how to act.” Within a month, Kyren was enrolled in the program.
LifeLaunch: IGNITE is a Goodwill Industries International (GII) program funded through the U. S. Department of Labor. Designed for justice-involved youth between the ages of 18-24, the program includes ten-weeks of manufacturing skills training in Goodwill’s Industrial Services Center, coupled with a robust classroom curriculum instruction through a partnership with Muskegon Community College. A Goodwill career coach meets individually with each program participant several times a week to provide feedback on their performance and to ensure plan adherence based on goals set by the participant. Upon completion of the program, the career coach provides job placement assistance and follow-up retention supports to ensure ongoing success.
Goodwill Career Coach Joe Gordon was with Kyren from the beginning. “Kyren always had it in him to be successful, he just needed some structure,” Joe said.
Within three months of completing the IGNITE program, Kyren was offered a full-time permanent position at Canteen, an on-demand retail and food service company. Working as a technician at Canteen’s Norton Shores/Muskegon Branch, Kyren organizes and prepares vending orders, and coffee orders before shipment, along with sorting products.
“I like working at Canteen,” said Kyren. “I love that they check on me and make sure I’m understanding what I need to do each day and if I’m ok. I feel comfortable with this employer.”
“IGNITE helped me learn how to prepare for a job. We did mock interviewing and all the things we learned in class was a big help. It helped me learn to speak up for myself and ask questions if necessary at work. It helped me learn that I can be more open with my employers,” said Kyren. When asked if Kyren has any advice for someone else who was struggling to find or keep work, he said, “Never give up! God has a plan for you and he will help you figure out just like he helped me.”
The LifeLaunch: IGNITE program helps 18-to-24-years-old who have been involved in the justice system and want a fresh start. The ten-week program offers vocational career tracks in manufacturing, materials handling, machine operation, mechatronics, or welding with job placement assistance in the Muskegon area. This program is in partnership with Muskegon Community College; PADNOS; and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and is funded by the U. S. Department of Labor. To find out more and enroll, call 231-722-7871.
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