Success Story: Karen

Karen Misenheimer is enjoying her new role as Unit Secretary for Atrium Health. Just two years ago, Karen was working as a healthcare technician for the same company, but an injury to her back made working difficult. After shopping at Goodwill, she learned about Goodwill University, Goodwill’s job training division, and the classes offered through the program.

“When I went to Goodwill, the cashier asked if I wanted to give my change to the Goodwill program. So, I asked her about the program, and she told me I could find more information about the classes online. When I got home, I looked online, and I started signing up for some of the classes,” Karen said.

Karen enrolled in several classes through Goodwill University to ensure the success of her new career. With her back injury, she wanted to be sure that she was able to maintain the same pay and stay with her employer.

“I wanted to stay with Atrium Health because I’ve been there for 22 years, but I couldn’t continue to perform my job duties as a Certified Nursing Assistant,” Karen said. “The first class I took was the Customer Service Experience course. I then took the Intro to Computers Workshop, and then the Microsoft Essentials for Business course. That’s how I got my certificate for Microsoft,” Karen said listing and describing the classes that she took.

According to Karen, the course that aided her the most in her new role was the Customer Service Experience Course. It allowed her to have a new outlook on how to deal with customers and what to listen for.

“I’ve learned how to communicate a whole lot better, better listening skills and how to be more patient with irate customers. Sometimes family members might call in mad and they yell at you, and I know how to stay calm, repeat what I hear them saying and calm them down a little bit,” Karen said.

With hopes of transitioning to a new career, Karen needed more training in specific courses to help her land the job that she wanted. With the help of Goodwill University, Karen was able to take the courses necessary to make this goal a reality.

“I put in 37 transfers, and I got turned down 37 times. But once I took the classes and I put those certificates in, I was able to move into my current position,” she explained.

Training courses, like the one Karen took, are available free of charge thanks to donations and purchases made by shoppers at Charlotte-area Goodwill retail locations.

“I knew being a long-term CNA I needed to learn more computer skills and I didn’t have the money to take any classes,” Karen emphasized. “So, it was heaven sent for me.”

Karen has inspired many of her coworkers to enroll in the training courses to help improve their lives and themselves as individuals.

“It’s like you’re in a box. And the only way you’re going to get out of that box is to try to take some classes or do something to improve yourself,” Karen said. “It builds my self-confidence that I finally got myself in a better position and people are seeing it without me saying it all the time. And now they want to do it too, and I can encourage them to go ahead and do it.”

You can find your path to success with Goodwill, too. To learn more about training courses offered through Goodwill University, click here.

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