Oct 17, 2022
Herbert hadn’t worked since 1992, when he broke his back on the job. Since then, he broke his back again and suffered multiple health challenges which prevented him from fully reaching his professional potential. “I just wanted to work and earn more money,” Herbert said.
As a recipient of Goodwill’s tax preparation services (VITA) for the past nine years, Herbert was aware of Goodwill and its mission of helping people find work. Ready to reenter the workforce, he applied to GoodTemps temporary staffing services. Recognizing the sizable gap in his employment history, GoodTemps Manager Lori Springstead referred him to Career Coach LaTonya Burks.
LaTonya worked with Herbert to fully understand his barriers to long-term employment, and they agreed that he could benefit from Goodwill’s GoodWorks program that offers both work readiness training and paid work experience in Goodwill’s Industrial Service Center. At the age of 67, after 29 years of living with a disability, Herbert enrolled in GoodWorks.
“Goodwill helped me to see how much work I could tolerate by enrolling me in GoodWorks,” Herbert said. “During the training, I learned about hard and soft skills. A résumé was developed for me and we did a mock interview.”
“Herbert is a hardworking man who just needed a chance to rebuild his confidence,” LaTonya said. “When you are out of work for that long, it is easy to give up on yourself. Herbert never gave up.”
Upon completion of the two-week program, GoodTemps placed Herbert in a job with the City of Muskegon Public Works Department as a seasonal laborer. Lori felt confident about placing Herbert after his successful completion of the GoodWorks program. “The city just loved him,” Lori said. “He would show up on time, every day, and work hard.” Herbert enjoyed his job with the city. “I liked working both by myself and as part of a team,” he said. “I enjoyed working and being stationed downtown every day.”
Although the City of Muskegon assignment was seasonal, they have already requested that he return next year.
When asked how his life has changed because of his work with Goodwill, Herbert responded, “I have more income. I feel better about myself and it helped my marriage.” His advice for other people seeking employment is “Get down here and talk to someone! It worked for me.” Herbert humbly added, “Thanks for taking a chance on me.”
GoodWorks is a three-week (previously two-week) program designed to improve employability skills and work behaviors to ensure successful long-term job placement in the community. Participants may be referred internally or by a community partner. GoodWorks is aimed at individuals who have had long gaps in employment and/or those who need extra support before securing permanent employment. A career coach works one-on-one with each participant to create a customized plan to meet their employment goals. The program consists of two main parts. Part one involves classroom instruction including topics such as communication and interpersonal skills, mock interviews, résumé writing, job search, interview preparation, job retention, budgeting, and more. Part two involves paid work experience training in Goodwill’s Industrial Services Center doing work such as packaging and assembly for Goodwill’s contract partners. There is no fee for eligible participants.