How can a job change a life?
What does it take to remove roadblocks and bring hope to people through education, training, and placing people into jobs? For over 90 years, Goodwill Serving the People of Southern Los Angeles has been removing roadblocks and providing hope and empowerment to low-income or no-income individuals, and moving them onto careers that have changed their lives. They offer extraordinary training programs in specific industries, including the Certified Nurse Assistant and the Security Guard Officer training programs.
Partnerships with municipal governments, school districts, and health care corporations create multiple entry points for their trained and eager job seekers. And Goodwill SOLAC complements its job and life training with job placement and ongoing support to help people reach self-sustaining lives.
For example, collaboration with the city’s Health and Human Services Department have resulted in three incredible programs — job placement services for people experiencing homelessness, a Fundamentals of Fatherhood program providing employment preparedness and job placement services for fathers receiving parenting skills training, and providing a myriad of services, including job placement services, for victims of human trafficking.
Finding meaningful employment can absolutely change a life. Here are three examples.
Emily Hernandez, Goodwill SOLAC’s Graduate of the Year, was born with a condition called Vater Syndrome, resulting in over 20 corrective surgeries by the time she was 13. She was told she would never have children or be able to sit in a college classroom.
Because of the amazing team of experts who helped Emily overcome her health challengers, she chose a career in healthcare and was accepted into Goodwill SOLAC’s Certified Nursing Program in October 2019. Emily stated, “I know this is my calling and Goodwill has been so instrumental in my success. The instructors were the best anyone could ask for, truly inspirational and a continued source of support, emotionally and financially.”
Today, Emily is married, has a beautiful daughter, and holds a much sought-after position as an Acute Care Certified Nurse at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. Emily added, “everything I have gone through has put me in the position to be the very best mother, wife, and employee I could be.”
Matthew Caro, Goodwill SOLAC’s Achiever of the Year, was born with Cerebral Palsy. He never let that stop him from pursuing a career and continuing his education.
Matthew was originally referred to Goodwill by the Harbor Regional Center for Supported Employment Placement Services. Goodwill originally placed Matthew in a position at Arconic Aerospace in Carson, CA. He was then selected to be a groundskeeper at the US. Coast Guard in San Pedro and completed daily landscaping duties for 2 years. Cerebral Palsy made his job a struggle, yet he never complained.
Matthew yearned to do more with his life. His Goodwill SOLAC job developer suggested completing a food service internship at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. It was emphasized to Matthew that there was no guarantee the internship would be a good fit or that a job would be offered to him. His determination, confidence, and positive attitude won the day and once hired, he was quickly promoted.
Matthew’s success doesn’t stop here. He has an ANSI Food Handler’s Certificate and has completed the following college degrees: A.A in Theology (The Latin University of Theology), A.S. in Information and Technology, and B.S. in Cyber Security (ITT Technical Institute). Matthew, his wife, and young son welcomed a baby girl into their family in 2020.
Johnny Sullivan, Goodwill SOLAC’s Achiever of the Year, has faced alcohol addiction, caring for his mother until she passed in 2020, dealing with his diabetes, and losing his house to a fire, all without a support system.
He worked 10-hour days, often 6 days a week, as a supported employment participant at Arconic Fastening Systems. It was known that if Johnny was at work, all Arconic deadlines in his work area would be met. But he was laid off from Arconic. Goodwill staff worried about how he would be able to assist his mother, buy food, pay rent, pay car insurance, all with the normal day-to-day struggles and having no job. Goodwill’s Workforce Development Team found Johnny an internship at Smart & Final in a 90-day internship. After the internship, he was quickly hired, and even recognized several times in the company newsletter!
When you donate or purchase at Goodwill SOLAC stores, you are helping people like Emily, Johnny & Matthew. At Goodwill SOLAC, 87 to 89 cents of every dollar earned through the sale of donated goods, combined with revenues generated by LiNKS Sign Language & Interpreting Services, goes straight to underwriting their education, job training, and placement services.
Help us help them. Thank you.
View more stories of how Goodwill SOLAC has helped empower others through employment at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7740FBIvxaimucbQtoKsyQ/videos