Greg Curry was employed and had a well-paying job in the steel business; but he was looking for a career with longevity and growth. That’s what led him to Goodwill.
“I was working for a steel company for eight years. One of my sons, who is 9, said to me, ‘I want to work with you, dad.’ But I want to show my sons that they can do better for themselves. I want them to know that they can achieve more,” Greg said.
Greg one day hopes to move from the Charlotte area, so he knew he needed to transition to a career that can sustain him no matter the area he lives in.
“I’ve been interested in construction for a long time. I wanted to get into a trade because that’s something I know I can do wherever I go. I want to live by the water somewhere, so I have to make money there to do it.”
Although he had to balance work and his family to participate in the Construction Basics course at the Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center, he says it was well worth it.
“I worked 12 hours a day, went to sit in the parking lot for three hours, and then participated in the three-hour class three days a week,” he explained.
“The class was better than I thought it would be. It was tough, but we learned a lot. We didn’t just get certifications, we really had to learn the material and we had to do work outside of class too. The instructors were great; they taught us so much. A lot of people pay and sit in months or years of classes that we are getting for free for a few nights a week. We should be paying them!” he emphasized.
Training courses, like the one Greg took, are available free of charge thanks to donations and purchases made by shoppers at Charlotte-area Goodwill retail locations.
In addition to courses, Goodwill participants also receive wraparound services. Participants are assigned a Career Navigator who assists them with resumes and other professional services, and work with an Employee Engagement team member who helps get them in front of employers. Greg’s Career Navigator, Keitha Stewart, helped him polish up his resume.
“Keitha is great. She really helped me clean up my resume. I come from a production background which isn’t very professional. I thought I had a good resume until she helped me make changes that made me sound more professional,” Greg said.
Greg began work in the HVAC industry after completing his classes. “I had to take a pay cut to get my foot in the door, but it’s about more than money,” he explained. “I learned technical things in the classes that I would mention at work. Some of my coworkers wouldn’t even know what I was talking about, and they had been working in construction for years.”
After a few months of professional experience, Greg landed a higher-paying position at a different HVAC company, where he’s employed today.
Greg’s wife, who originally told him about the courses, is now taking courses at Goodwill to become an electrician. He hopes to own his own business someday, and maybe she can join him!
“I love Goodwill. It’s a win-win situation. I tell a lot of people that it’s a free opportunity that you should take. This class can change your life.”
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