Demonstrating strong interpersonal and soft skills is beneficial to finding and maintaining employment, and lacking these skills can prevent someone from landing a job. More than 20 years ago, Derrick’s vocational rehabilitation counselor referred him to Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont to help develop his interpersonal, soft, and job skills.
Once Derrick arrived at Goodwill’s Career Development Center in 1995, he was surrounded by people who cared about him and were ready to support his personal and professional journey. He completed an evaluation and was assigned to a job coach who worked closely with him over the course of a year. During that year, Derrick worked in Goodwill’s employment training program in which he went to work every day at Goodwill’s warehouse. There, he learned basic interpersonal and job skills that prepared him for his future career such as the importance of being on time to work, how to interact with other employees, how to receive and execute work instructions, and how to work both independently and as a team player.
“I learned to express myself and have independence. I got the feel on how to become a good employee and, of course, how to be more honest and truthful,” he said. “They believed I would be a viable worker in the future.”
After working with a job coach and in employment training for a year, Derrick was hired to work at Goodwill’s retail store on Albemarle Road. Today, more than 20 years later, Derrick is still employed full-time at the Albemarle Road store as a donation processor. Throughout his career, Derrick has grown both as a person and as an employee.
“I feel like a leader since I’ve been working year after year. I always try to show management that I can do my job in a timely manner, show great customer service, and be considerate of people’s needs and wants with the things they don’t have,” he said.
“Derrick loves to make sure his job gets done correctly and timely, and he always double checks to make sure it is done right. We are very fortunate to have Derrick as our teammate,” said Hyrum Timmons, Derrick’s supervisor and store manager at the Albemarle Road store.
With Derrick’s 20-year career has come additional opportunities for him to grow as a person. For example, Derrick moved out of his parents’ house two and a half years ago and now lives on his own. He said that he enjoys living independently and likes the satisfaction he gets from managing his own budget and keeping records of his own expenses. His current goal is to continue on his journey towards independence and self-sufficiency by getting his driver’s license.
Derrick feels grateful for the opportunities that both Goodwill and God have given him, and he hopes to use those blessings to help others.
“I feel totally blessed by God and the gifts He has given me, and I hope to use those gifts to help others. I want to continue doing good work, not only for Goodwill but also for the honor and glory of God,” he said.