BRUCE WAS INCARCERATED FOR 31 YEARS. While he served his time, the outside world continued on without him.
“Upon my release, I found the Muskegon I had grown up in to be a very different place. The buildings had changed, been removed and replaced, and even the streets had changed. I realized that I was on a new journey to a whole new community,” Bruce said.
Bruce needed help making this tremendous transition and was referred to Goodwill through the Offender Success (OS) program for help with work readiness and employment placement assistance.
Working with a Goodwill career coach, Bruce completed an individual service plan defining specific steps to help him achieve the goals he set for himself and to help him navigate his creation of a new life. In addition to teaching Bruce how to be successful in the workplace, Goodwill assisted him in creating a résumé, and provided coaching on interview skills, job search techniques, computer skills, and smart phone usage.
To gain some real-life paid work experience, Bruce was enrolled in Work Experience Training for four weeks in Goodwill’s Industrial Services Center. He learned various light industrial tasks such as packaging and assembly work contracted with area businesses. With the support and guidance of Goodwill staff, Bruce acclimated to the pace and demands of work.
“I had to readjust my work habits working around people who were not only new to me, but were not fellow inmates,” Bruce said. “I had to learn to function not only as a group member, but also as an individual. The entire process was a whole new journey for me. I now find I am enthusiastic about learning even more.”
Bruce proved to be an excellent worker and team player. When a position for a Goodwill industrial production worker became available, he asked to apply and was hired.
“I started out first in production, and then they switched me over to recycling. I learned how to disassemble things, learned how to sort plastics and granulate them. I'm always learning something new.”
“I want to thank Goodwill for believing in me and supporting me,” Bruce said. “They showed me they had faith in me, and they were backing me, and that support they gave me was totally awesome. I am confident that should I wish to look outside of this organization for a competitive job in the community, that staff will be happy to assist me with that journey as well. I’m happy with the progress I have achieved to this point, and we will see what the future holds for me.”
- Amy Cumings,
Goodwill Industrial Services Production Supervisor
Providing competitively priced, quality manufacturing services — such as packaging and assembly — to a variety of area businesses, Goodwill’s Industrial Services division provides people with disabilities and other disadvantages an opportunity to work. train, and receive a paycheck.