Helping people prepare for, find, and keep good jobs is what Goodwill is about.
total people served in 2022
people placed into jobs within area businesses
program participants who worked and earned paychecks at Goodwill
Apr 21, 2023
LaDarrin walked into Goodwill’s Career Center seeking help in securing a job. “My life was uncertain. I was on probation and I had been unemployed since 2019,” LaDarrin said. Additionally, LaDarrin has multiple sclerosis which limits his leg strength and restricts his lifting abilities. “It slows me down,” he said. “I can’t do any heavy lifting, but I knew I could handle a part-time job. I was looking for resources and help, and I knew Goodwill would put me on a stable ground to work.”
After meeting LaDarrin and learning more about his goals and situation, Goodwill Career Coach LaTonya Burks assessed he was a perfect candidate for GoodWorks, a program aimed at individuals who have had long gaps in employment and need a little extra support before securing permanent employment.
The Work Experience Training component of the program — working in Goodwill’s Industrial Services department — helped re-acclimate LaDarrin to the world of work, as well as determine what he was physically capable of.
“The work experience really helped me see what I could handle physically,” LaDarrin said. The classroom instruction portion of the program taught him communication and interpersonal skills, résumé writing, job search techniques, interview skills, and more.
“LaDarrin is a hardworking man who just needed to discover what he was capable of,” LaTonya said. “When you are out of work and have barriers to maintaining long-term employment, it is easy to give up on yourself. LaDarrin never gave up.”
Upon completion of the three-week program, LaDarrin applied for a temporary assignment at the Goodwill Outlet Center as a retail salvage worker and got the job. After a three-month trial, LaDarrin was permanently hired in. In his role, he is responsible for sorting and recycling donated goods and materials, as well as the safe operation of the trash and compactor machines.
“I like the people I work with and I appreciate the experience I have gained,” LaDarrin said. When asked how his life has changed because of his work with Goodwill and the GoodWorks program, LaDarrin confidently answered, “I am more stable for my kids. I am more organized. I am more of a people person now and not as shy. I want to continue to learn new things like getting fork lift training.”
When asked for advice he would give to another person who was struggling to find or keep work, he replied, “Stay strong, and stay active. Keep God first.” LaDarrin added, “Thank you all for taking me in and giving me a chance.”
GoodWorks is a three-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.
Work Experience Training
Work Experience Training 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, EXIT, and other programs.
Success Story: Kaylyn
Kaylyn’s career coach, saw something special about her from the beginning. “Kaylyn has a strong desire to succeed. She's hungry, and once she finds her thing, she'll be a world changer,” Joe said.
“Goodwill placed me in a work experience that was focused on assembly which not only helped me learn to work as a member of a team, but also show me the importance each person on that team,” said Kaylyn.
Employee Spotlight: Jaime Hughes
Jaime brings enthusiasm and an eagerness for learning to her work as accounts payable specialist at our corporate headquarters. Employed at Goodwill for 3 years, Jaime began her career with Goodwill working in our electronics recycling department before transitioning to her current role.
Jaime loves it at Goodwill. “I like the people here. They are very human. I’ve never worked at a place like this before – it’s so great.”
Business Development Director named Innovator of the Year
The annual award recognizes and celebrates the most innovative ideas of the lakeshore area. Nick Carlson championed and coordinated Goodwill’s unique joint-venture partnership with HydroBlox Technologies, a plastics recycling company that manufactures products that aid in stormwater drainage infrastructure.
HydroBlox Technologies and Goodwill Industries of West Michigan announce plastic recycling partnership
“In keeping with Goodwill’s focus on sustainability and the triple-bottom line, we are excited to launch a new business line that diverts landfill-bound plastic, while also providing good-paying jobs,” GIWM President and CEO Jeanette Hoyer said.
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Become a Goodwill VITA volunteer!
Goodwill VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) volunteers provide free tax assistance to low- to moderate-income workers and families eligible for significant state and federal tax credits.
Make a difference! Help working people claim and keep all the refunds they are entitled to.
No accounting experience required! Volunteers receive FREE IRS training and certification.
Flexible hours! You can volunteer for day, evening, and/or Saturday hours in any of our tax-prep sites.