Nov 23, 2022
Cherry was referred to Goodwill’s Janitorial Occupational Training (JOT) program by her service coordinator at Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS). Cherry had some community-based work experience, but needed more “soft skills” job training to retain employment.
“My life was kind of rough before Goodwill,” Cherry said. “I had no stability and I wasn’t feeling good about myself.”
“Cherry was part of the first class to work with us at Fricano Place here in Muskegon,” said Janitorial Services Manager Kathy Harris. “COVID was in full swing then, but despite the mask, she had a smile that showed through.”
This 12-week program prepares participants for employment in the janitorial field through a combination of supportive classroom and hands-on training. Fricano Place partnered with Goodwill to serve as a training site.
“Towards the end of her training, we saw Cherry excel on the one hand — fully able to demonstrate all techniques and concepts — while also experiencing occasional attendance issues which seemed to coincide with low self-esteem and poor job performance,” Kathy said. “We coached Cherry, trying to help her focus on her accomplishments, and encouraged her to reach out for help through HealthWest.” Despite her difficulties, Cherry successfully completed the program in June of 2020.
When a position for cleaning crew in Goodwill’s Janitorial Services opened, Cherry was offered a part-time job. Initially she worked very hard, got a new apartment, and seemed to be doing well, but after a few months her attendance issues returned and she quit her job without notice. Her Goodwill job coach Leann Broughton learned that Cherry was struggling with some personal issues and was receiving support services from HealthWest.
After several months, Cherry’s HealthWest case manager reached out to Goodwill and facilitated a meeting. Kathy agreed to re-hiring her.
“I gave Cherry another chance under an agreed performance improvement plan,” Kathy said. “I wasn’t sure that she would make it, but then she did something that I was not expecting at all!”
On her first day back on the job, Cherry waited until her entire team was together, apologized to them for her behavior, and asked for their forgiveness and patience. She promised to do her best. She won them over.
“Since her return, Cherry has been a rock star,” Kathy said. “She’s working at a very productive level.”
“We work together as a team,” Cherry said. “We hold each other accountable and share core values. My supervisors pushed me to do my hardest and saw the best in me.”
Cherry is regarded as a prized employee by her supervisors and team members, and has not missed a day of work. Her goal now is to become a Janitorial Services Tech II (Team Lead) and Kathy is confident she will succeed.
“Goodwill has taught me discipline and how to make changes in my daily life,” Cherry said. “My self-confidence has grown and I feel like I can do anything I want. Thank you Goodwill for supporting me and thank you for my job.”
Designed to prepare individuals to meet the quality standards of janitorial services, participants gain valuable training combined with paid on-the-job training in a community setting. Using 3M™ SMART Training resources, participants learn tools and techniques of the field including: safe chemical handling, customer service, floor care, restroom cleaning, kitchen cleaning, trash and recycling, windows and glass, personal safety, and cleaning versus sanitizing. The curriculum is tailored to the needs of the participants. Job placement assistance is provided.
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