Success Story: Andre

Andre Formey began working in the trades industry by happenstance.

“I was in between careers, and I ended up stumbling upon the maintenance industry by starting as a groundskeeper in the neighborhood I lived in,” he shared.

He then decided he wanted to advance his trades career and started researching how to do so.

“I like to be in this industry because I can learn something new every day,” Andre said. “Once I realized I liked working with my hands, I wanted to learn more about HVAC systems. I Googled trade schools that could work with my daily schedule. I found Goodwill, and the rest is history.”

Andre signed up for Goodwill’s tuition-free training programs at the Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center. He completed the Construction Basics program, followed by the HVAC program.

“The classes helped prepare my skills and gave me knowledge to be more fit and productive while I’m in the field. The instructor, Mr. Charles, motivated us from day one. A few of the students [in the HVAC class] were in my Construction Basics class [which we took as a prerequisite first], so we had a bond. We chatted with each other; we picked each other’s brains; we helped each other; and we supported each other. That was the most exciting thing about the class,” Andre explained.

In addition to free courses, all Goodwill participants have access to a Career Navigator. Andre’s Career Navigator, Robert Johnson, helped him advance in his career.

“Robert was very motivating and supportive,” Andre stated. “He helped me with building my resume and my elevator pitch. These things helped me grow from where I was and allowed me to gain a better job.”

After completing the courses, Andre gained a promotion to supervisor at his company. This provided him with a raise in salary along with a higher position and title.

“The supervisory position has helped me reach new heights,” he exclaimed. “I can say I’ve made my mother and grandmother proud. That’s one of my biggest goals.”

In addition to his promotion at his company, Andre also became the first Teaching Assistant at Goodwill’s Construction Skills Training Center.

“In class, I would bring things I was seeing in real life and share new ways to problem solve,” Andre explained. “I believe in paying it forward, and I appreciate Goodwill, so I let them know that I wanted to help. When Chris [Sullivan, Manager of Construction and Trade Training] offered me the position, I accepted with no hesitation.”

Courses like the ones Andre took are offered free of charge thanks to shopping and donating at Goodwill’s 35 retail locations, along with philanthropic donations from donors.

“It was a big relief,” Andre said, when asked about how important it was that the classes were available free of charge. “It took a weight off my shoulders.”

“Don’t hesitate,” he emphasized. “Just apply yourself. Be prepared, because it won’t be easy, but once I got my foot in the door, I knew there was no turning back.”

If you or someone you know wants to donate to Goodwill to help support the nonprofit’s mission of building pathways that help people pursue the life they want to achieve, click here.   

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