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Jun 20, 2018

Success Story

Jon in front of Goodwill truckJon was referred to Goodwill’s Work Adjustment program in 2002 from Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) because of his inability to obtain full-time employment. Jon wanted to be a truck driver like his father had been and was placed in a truck driver helper position in Goodwill’s transportation department. In this role, Jon would accompany the truck drivers to Goodwill stores or pick-up locations, and help load and unload donated items. He learned work skills, but still struggled with some behavioral barriers.

Transportation Manager Mark Helsen supervised Jon and regularly met with his case manager to discuss Jon’s job performance. Jon’s challenges were his resistance to change, lack of patience, being socially withdrawn, and anxiety. In spite of these challenges, he performed his job well and still dreamed of being a truck driver. He asked Mark once a week when he would be given the chance to prove himself. 

In September 2014, Jon was moved from client status into a staff positon as a part-time driver assistant. Jon continued to ask Mark when he could become a driver.

Mark began training Jon but quickly realized it was the other way around “He was training me,” Mark said. “He knew everything about the stores and pickups. He told me he was tired of what he was doing and that he really wanted to be a driver.”

Jon worked to obtain a chauffer’s license and medical card because he knew it was needed for the truck driver position. After several months Mark felt it was time for Jon to get his shot because “That’s what we do at Goodwill, right?”

After three weeks of training with no mistakes, Jon was promoted to a temporary driver position to help fill in and cover for another driver who was out on leave. Jon became a permanent part-time truck driver in May of 2017, and in January of 2018, Jon was promoted to full-time.

“Looking back now on Jon over the years and the barriers that held him back, they are no longer present,” Mark said. “Jon walks and acts like a happy confident person, he stays in the moment and does a great job daily. Jon is more social, he seems to welcome the chance to engage with other staff here at corporate and the stores.”

Jon has always worked very hard and has had a positive impact on the overall success of the transportation department. “We currently have six staff where we once had eight,” Helsen said. “We get more done than we ever have and a big part of that is because we can count on Jon to do his share and sometimes even more every day. I think as a manger I am supposed to provide inspiration but most days Jon gives me the inspiration.” 

Jon talks about getting his own house some day and told Mark that because he gets good pay and benefits he believes that will happen. Jon very much deserves the success he has achieved!

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As we reach the end of another challenging year we reflect with gratitude on our resiliency and recovery, and the special help of donors. Not only did we survive another year of COVID-19, staff shortages, and uncertainties, we have several new initiatives to celebrate and, with you, look forward to their continued growth.

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Call 231-722-7871, ext. 8482 for more information.


Success Story: Bruce

After spending 30 years in prison, Bruce returned to a town he didn’t recognize and faced the daunting task of starting a new life. Goodwill’s Offender Success (OS) program worked with Bruce to define and achieve the goals he set for himself.

“Thanks to Goodwill, I have been given a new opportunity,” he said.

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Senior leadership changes announced

Kristin Garris was recently promoted to chief workforce officer, a new position that oversees Goodwill’s workforce development and human resources departments, as well as GoodTemps Staffing Solutions.

Goodwill Industries is also pleased to announce the recent hire of Nick Carlson as the agency’s new business development director. Carlson will provide operational oversight and business development of Goodwill’s Janitorial Services and Industrial Services business-to-business contracts, as well as lead the organization’s sustainability and recycling initiatives.

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Virtual awards ceremony shared with community

Goodwill’s Achievers of the Year in-person celebration was cancelled again this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We enlisted the help of Andy O’Reilly and Derek Wong from the Muskegon Channel to record a virtual event. We taped each award winner separately and safely, and then stitched them together with our video achiever profiles recorded back in March of 2020.

Congratulations to Achievers of the Year: Kawan, Tim, Quentin, and Hailey; Employer Partners of the Year: Northway Lanes, SRS Fiberglass, and McDonald’s of Hart; Contract Partner of the Year: Spectrum Health; and Volunteer of the Year: Susanne McGee.

View the awards ceremony video and the individual stories from our Achievers of the Year page:

Achievers Page

Achievers of the Year

Each year we celebrate community members who overcame adversity through the power of work, and the employers who supported them.

Achievers page

GIWM named regional facilitator hub for MI Tri-Share Child Care Program

The MI Tri-Share Child Care Program is a new innovative approach to increasing access to high-quality, affordable child care for working families. The “tri-share” model splits the cost of child care three-ways — between state funding, employers enrolled in the program, and eligible employees.

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New electronics room in Apple Avenue store

On March 1, the Goodwill retail store  at 1501 E. Apple Avenue opened a new "Electronics Room" in a previously unused space just off their regular sales floor.

"Previously owed desktop and laptop computers, stereo systems, speakers, TVs, DVD/Blu-Ray players, video game systems, PC parts, and more, are for all for sale at great prices," said E-Commerce Manager Adam Kragt.

 "It's an excellent resource for customers," added Team Leader Clayton Burch. "Everything has been completely tested and ready to go for customers."

 Check out the WZZM-TV video story with Jon Mills here:

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View our annual report

Our 2020 annual report recognizes a year of providing community support as well as achievements in our business, our culture, and in changing lives through the power of work. The annual report also recognizes the four 2019-20 Achievers of the Year and tells their stories.

View our annual report pdf.

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Goodwill is Committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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Goodwill Career Center

Currently open by appointment only. Call 722-7871.

  • Job search assistance
  • Résumé development
  • Career exploration
  • GoodTemps application
  • Resource assistance

Masks are required for entry.

271 E. Apple Ave, Muskegon

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