Today, Debbie is working at Clifton Larson Allen (CLA), LLC., an accounting firm in uptown Charlotte, but she was once one of millions impacted by COVID-19 and looking for work.
“I didn’t have a lot of dollars that I could pour into going back to a university or getting a technical degree, so I had to find other resources. That’s how I got connected to Goodwill,” Debbie said.
Debbie started her career as a legal assistant with Bank of America, where she worked for 20 years and received numerous promotions before taking a job in human resources with Family Dollar, where she worked until they were acquired by Dollar Tree. Being a jack of all trades, Debbie shifted her energy into her event planning business. In addition, she got her commercial driver’s license (CDL) and began driving school busses for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools until March 2020, when the global pandemic changed the workforce.
As an older adult, looking for work was challenging for Debbie, who felt employers were no longer interested in her resume, despite the number of years she worked in corporate America. Emotionally, Debbie shared, “Even though I had a great career, I just started to devalue that and felt like I wasn’t good enough.”
So, Debbie bet on herself, and began taking classes virtually through Goodwill University, which provides a wide variety of job training courses designed to help participants develop the skills needed to launch new careers. These courses are offered free of charge thanks to donations received and shopping at our retail stores.
Debbie started with prerequisite courses before landing in Goodwill’s Customer Service Excellence (CSE) course, which helped to guide her pathway to success. “Once I completed the course, I started building my resume and having more conversations with my coach, Matthew Hiatt, and others about what it was that I wanted to do, and they just kept pushing me to apply for all the jobs that I knew I was qualified for,” she explained.
For Debbie, the hardest part was the waiting period, but luckily, she didn’t have to endure that hardship alone. Goodwill participants are able to work with a career coach and navigator throughout their journey with the nonprofit, who provide one-on-one support and access to wraparound services. Debbie’s partner in her journey was Matthew, who provided her the reassurance she needed to keep her motivated during the job search process.
“I felt like I had somebody that I could just say this is how I’m feeling today, nobody’s calling me back, and it was that voice on the other end to say, ‘you know what it takes time, but you’re doing all the right things.’”
After applying to a role at CLA, Debbie finally got her yes! She received an offer and began working with them summer 2021.
It’s the mission of Goodwill to build pathways that help people pursue the life they want to achieve. The nonprofit is able to help so many in the Charlotte region thanks to donations and shopping at local retail stores. Debbie was already donating to Goodwill before taking courses, but now feels more passionate about giving to the nonprofit.
“The most important thing that anybody can do is give back to organizations that help other people,” she emphasized. “Goodwill was just the name of an organization that I used to give to, but now it is more than that. For me it is a place where people can go to restart, reenergize and get out there and find an opportunity that is going to suit them. It doesn’t matter your age; it doesn’t matter your failures. You will find that Goodwill is a good resource, and I am truly indebted and grateful for everything that they’ve done for me.”
You can find your path to success with Goodwill, too. Learn more Goodwill University’s Customer Service Excellence course.