“Nine years working at night takes its toll and it just wore me out. I got my life back after nine years.”
Craig is a North Carolina native, who earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 2001, then took his talents to Atlanta, Georgia, for an internship with Phillips Partnership. During his time there, Craig worked on a team whose projects included retail shopping centers, lifestyle centers, mall entrances, big box stores, as well as multifamily and multi-use buildings. This impressive range of experience deepened the knowledge he gained in college – drawing buildings, reading blueprints and submitting permits.
In 2012, Craig moved back to Charlotte for a completely different type of work – in the pharmaceuticals industry, where he was employed up until this year.
“I was watching TV and it came on the news – how Goodwill was helping people find placement in the construction industry because of the [labor] shortage in construction,” he said. “It was talking about the classes they were offering and the young men and women that they had placed in construction.”
Before coming to Goodwill, Craig already knew how to read construction plans, but he didn’t know much about estimating. He wanted to get back into the field, but in a different way. A phone call was all it took to get the ball rolling. “Goodwill helped me to get a job at Morcon Construction as an estimator,” Craig said. “I took classes at Goodwill to restart my career.”
The Blueprint Reading and Estimating course offered at the Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center covers the fundamentals of reading and interpreting residential blueprints, and estimating the quantities of materials and labor required to construct a house. This course bridged the gap in Craig’s experience. “My background is more commercial architecture, so it was an opportunity to do estimates,” he said. “It was easier to transition from commercial to residential and then go into estimating because I already have a design background. When they offered the estimating piece in residential, I thought it was very intriguing.”
Not only did Craig take advantage of this training program, he also participated in Lowe’s Work Based Learning grant opportunity, which provided four weeks of paid training. This means that in addition to his in-class learning, Craig got to learn on the job – and get paid!
Goodwill offers an experience that sets its participants up for success upon completion. Its courses are unique and competitive, and are free of charge! “I hadn’t seen anyone actually teach estimating in blueprint reading classes,” Craig said. “Everybody wanted me to go back to school for six months to two years to get a certification. But I have a family, so I couldn’t drop everything I’m doing and go to school for two years.”
When Craig learned he could take courses at Goodwill for eight weeks while working, he knew he’d found a winner. “I realized that I could go to work, take the classes after work, and then restart my career. Both time-wise and financially, it was a really good fit,” he said.
Not only does Goodwill offer free training courses, they come with a team of professionals who take a vested interest in creating long-lasting matches between participants and local employers. Craig started working with Career Navigator Keitha Stewart, who helped Craig write a resume that would appeal to employers. Matt Robson, an employer engagement specialist at Goodwill, then helped Craig find employers looking for people with his specific set of skills. “They’re fantastic and they were very determined to find me the job opportunity that I was looking for that would fit my timeline,” Craig said. “They were very adamant.”
Craig’s life has changed dramatically since landing a job with Morcon Construction. “The biggest reason I left the pharmaceutical industry was I just couldn’t take care of my family because I’m working third shift and I’m sleeping through the day, and that was really hard,” he said. “This move has helped me so I can raise my children.”
With a son in college and a daughter in high school, Craig is enjoying his free nights and weekends to spend with them. He is looking forward to traveling to Alabama to visit his son, and continue teaching his daughter how to drive. “I thank Goodwill for everything they’ve done,” he said. “I got my life back after nine years working nights.”
Craig shared that it means a lot to him that Goodwill donors made this opportunity possible for him. “It means that they care about people. I was able to become successful from that,” he emphasized.
Learn more about how you can get your life back by taking courses at Goodwill.