Less than a year ago, Judith Robert was living in Atlanta and working for a delivery company. Today, she lives in Rock Hill, works as a Billing Customer Service Representative with Spectrum and is back in school studying Human Resources.
“I was supposed to get transferred with my job and that didn’t happen,” Judith explained when talking about her plans when she first moved to South Carolina.
Struggling to support herself without a job, Judith learned about Goodwill’s services through word of mouth.
“The beginning of my journey with Goodwill was taking the Forklift class, and that opened up so many different opportunities and conversations with people along the way,” she said.
Judith was determined to overcome her obstacles, and following her forklift training, she enrolled in the foundational Customer Service Experience course at Goodwill’s Gastonia Career Center, commuting all the way from Rock Hill to take the class in person.
“When you make a commitment to do something, if it is important to you, then you’re going to do it,” she explained.
Her hard work paid off. Working with Goodwill Employer Engagement Specialist Julie Salinas, Judith learned of an opportunity at Spectrum, one of Goodwill’s top 10 hiring employers, who hired a significant number of individuals who sought services or completed training programs at Goodwill in 2022.
Before she knew it, she was employed – and at her highest wage ever!
“What I love about Spectrum is the growth within the business,” Judith exclaimed. She’s now back in school thanks to Spectrum, too, who covers $10,000 in tuition costs for employees per year. Judith is getting her second bachelor’s degree at SNHU, this time in Human Resources.
In addition to free training courses, Goodwill participants also have access to free wraparound services, such as working with a Career Navigator and Employer Engagement Specialist, like Julie, who helped Judith in advancing her career.
Judith also worked with Alonia Preston, one of the nonprofit’s Regional Career Navigators in Gastonia.
“I love how Alonia just continuously followed up with me,” Judith emphasized. “She made sure that I had the resources that I needed in order to complete things, which I appreciated.”
Courses like the one Judith took are available free of charge to the community, thanks to shopping and donating at Goodwill’s 32 retail locations, in addition to corporate, community and philanthropic donations.
Judith encourages much of her network to tap into the resources at Goodwill, especially since they’re free of charge.
“That’s what you need if you’re trying to get on your feet,” she said. “No matter what, I know that I can always go to them [Goodwill] as a resource. And they work with you, with what you have and what you’re looking to get – not trying to convince you that this is your path. They help you find your path.”