FACED WTH MULTIPLE CHALLENGES, including a cognitive disability and speech disorder, Alfonso had a difficult time maintaining steady employment in the community. Shortly after finding a good fit in a work program offered by Kandu Industries, the organization suddenly shuttered its operations and Alfonso was displaced once again.
Alfonso’s caseworkers at Ottawa County Community Mental Health referred him to Goodwill’s new Impactful Integration initiative, developed to help fill the service void in Holland. He began skills training as a member of Goodwill’s janitorial crew. This opportunity allowed him to complete assigned tasks independently while having supportive supervision available to assist with problem solving. Alfonso excelled, and as he gained confidence was given more responsibilities and independence.
Once ready to reenter community-based employment, Alfonso was paired with an employment specialist as a part of Goodwill’s Supported Employment program and received assistance with his résumé, job application, and interview skills. Alfonso’s hard work and determination paid off when he secured a utility clerk position at the Family Fare Supermarket in Holland. Alfonso fulfills a variety of tasks such as bagging groceries, cleaning, maintaining the bottle return area, retrieving carts, and more.
Initially relying on public transportation to get to work, Alfonso was able to save some of his earnings to repair his car, further increasing his independence and work availability.
Alfonso credits Goodwill for the opportunity to learn a new trade and get back into the community.
“Starting any new job is scary, but give it time to find the right fit, get used to your job, and know that it’s okay to ask for help,” Alfonso said.
Alfonso’s manager and co-workers have an abundance of praise for his willingness to go the extra mile, and for his friendly attitude along the way.
“He’s taking care of our customers, and always with a smile,” Store Director Mike Farrell said. “You never need to ask him to get started on a job, he knows exactly what to do.”
Alfonso is already looking to increase his hours and believes that he will be able to sustain lasting employment in this position.
- Gary Goorman, Manager
Family Fare Supermarket, Holland
Family Fare Supermarkets are a division of SpartanNash that currently operates more than 150 grocery stores in 10 states, and distributes to more than 2,100 independent locations throughout the country. Family Fare stores offer a wide selection of private and national brand products — offering quality, value, natural and organic products, health and beauty care items, and more.