Goodwill exists to help people see possibilities, seize opportunities and prosper. Here, it’s not about finding a job – it’s about starting down the path to something greater.
Jeremy held a number of jobs – good jobs – throughout his career. First as a teacher, then a mortgage and insurance professional. But he knew he could be more and achieve more for himself and his family, if he just found the right opportunity.
“I was wanting to add on to my resume because I felt I had reached my ceiling at work. I was trying to find different ways to get more training and find a different route to move forward in my career,” he said.
That career-boosting training is exactly what he found at Goodwill – where he enrolled in a Systems Analyst class in the advanced IT program. He was grateful the classes were in the evenings so he could commit a few hours to training after work each day while his wife worked from home with their children. He immediately dove in, looking to take advantage of every opportunity he could.
“I’ve taken training in the past, but this was different. We were hands-on with coding, and they linked us up with people working in the industry on live projects,” he said. “One of the biggest things was it gave me an opportunity to be a project lead for one of the programs we were testing. I’d never had an opportunity to have a leadership role on a project and that was really pivotal.”
Through partnerships with local employers, Goodwill University training programs provide skills and qualifications that are in-demand, yes, even during the pandemic. In fact, more than 350 people completed advanced IT training programs through Goodwill in 2020. For those who weren’t working like Jeremy, Goodwill partnered with the City of Charlotte and Carolina Softech to offer a paid internship in the IT program for the first time. This, coupled with the hands-on approach to training allowed all participants to boost their knowledge and resumes while continuing to make ends meet. The coaching support of a career navigator is also a critical piece, Jeremy said, especially through the emotional roller coaster that is the job search process. Having someone in his corner who knows your goals and your worth, helped Jeremy persevere.
“Those trials and tribulations of job hunting can be hard. I went on probably 30 interviews. There were times I got to the fourth or fifth round after doing assessments and meeting people, just to be told they were going with a different candidate,” he said. “Being told ‘no’ so many times – I didn’t let that deter me. I knew the direction I wanted to go in to grow and excel, so I just kept swinging and my coach, David, was there through the whole process. He was a great rock for me through all of it, motivating me and telling me to keep pushing to get my opportunity.”
By November, he finally found a role that gives him just that – opportunity. He’s now a Business Analyst, with a salary he’s proud of, and will relocate to Asheville when they return to in-person work.
“I’m elated. It’s almost too good to be true! I’m not used to great things like this coming to me,” he said. “I had to overcome a lot of hurdles and challenges and I finally got my ‘yes’ so I’m going to do everything I can to prove myself.”
Because Goodwill programs are offered at no cost to participants, Jeremy isn’t having to allocate his pay bump to student debt. Instead, he’s able to use his salary increase to invest in what matters most – his family – especially now that they’re a party of five with the addition of his baby daughter, Rory.
“Opportunities like this are generational changes for people’s families. It’s really changing the plight of a whole family by giving this level of training and pursuing these types of careers. With Goodwill helping me move forward in IT, I’m doing a lot better than a lot of people in my family. We all have an education, even some advanced degrees, but this career path is setting me up for even more and it’s amazing.”