Success Story: Ahmed

When Ahmed first left Egypt in 2019 in hopes of building a better life for his family in America, he was presented with a unique set of challenges, including a lack of technical skills. That was until he found Goodwill.

Ahmed spent his first two years in the U.S. navigating the process of finding a job that added value to his life. He bounced from several different roles as he looked for the best fit, including jobs at gas stations and working as a line cook at a hospital.

“I felt like I was losing my life in these jobs,” Ahmed said. “Today, tomorrow, every day was the same as the other days. I felt like I wasn’t moving forward, and I was just going to be in the same spot all my life. I didn’t like that.”

With the goal of finding something he enjoyed doing every day, Ahmed began searching for resources and training opportunities that could prepare him for a better job.

“If you learn more, you earn more,” Ahmed stated. “I was searching for something, for somebody, to teach me and help me take the first step to having a better life and a better job. And finally somebody told me about Goodwill.”

Ahmed discovered Goodwill’s training division, Goodwill University, which offers a wide variety of job training courses designed to help participants develop the skills needed to launch their career. These courses are all offered free of charge, thanks to the community’s donations and purchases at our 31 retail stores.

“The fact that the classes are free was amazing for me,” Ahmed said. “I paid nothing, and they taught me everything. It was a perfect deal.”

Ahmed has always had a passion for fixing things. He enjoys painting, building and other home projects. After talking with Marvin Kelley, Director of Goodwill’s Construction & Trade Training program, he realized that, with the right training, this hobby could turn into a career. He enrolled in Goodwill’s Construction Basics training course and worked hard to pass the class despite language barriers.

“For a while it was very, very hard speaking a different language,” Ahmed stated. “I cannot read very well. The best part for me was that everybody tried to help me in the course. They were always patient, and they wanted to make sure 100% that I understood everything.”

After passing the training course, Ahmed took advantage of Goodwill’s free wraparound services. He worked on his resume and interviewing skills with our Career Navigators, and then attended a hiring event at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus.

“They helped me with everything – with my resume, with the questions to expect in the interview,” Ahmed said. “They trained me in what would be a good answer for this question, what I should wear, everything. They helped me with all the details because they wanted to make sure I got hired.”

At the hiring event, Ahmed interviewed with Ike’s Construction and began a new job in the millwork division within the week. In this role, he cuts wood, builds cabinets and installs them. He has enjoyed working at Ike’s for almost one year now, and he is working toward his long-term goal of owning his own company.

“I really like the job, and that makes a big difference – whether you like your job or not,” Ahmed said. “I’m not just going to work and going home. I did something to change my circumstance. It takes time, and I needed to be patient. But, finally, I feel like I did something and I’m really glad I did it.”

Ahmed believes that anyone who is serious about advancing their career or changing their path can benefit from Goodwill’s free services.

“Goodwill is where you can come to get a free training class and find a job,” Ahmed said. “From my very first call, every single person at Goodwill helped me as much as they could. It’s hard, so you have to be serious about it. You have to feel 100% like you want to do this and you need to do this. And if you really need to do this, Goodwill is the best way to do it.”

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