“I’ve always been a fan of Goodwill for shopping and things of that nature, but I never thought that Goodwill would be responsible for improving my quality of life and put me in a position where I can continue to grow,” said Kiyosha, who recently completed an IT training course through Goodwill University.
When Kiyosha started with Goodwill, she was working as a billing specialist at a logistics agency. “I was not sure where my life was going to go, I did not graduate college, and I was slowly realizing that the workforce was no longer a place where you can just work your way up in a company,” she said.
With no concrete plan of what she wanted to do, she was encouraged by her mom to enroll in the Business Analyst/QA Tester training course with Goodwill University, a decision she is thankful she made. Today, Kiyosha is a Quality Assurance Software Tester for Insight Enterprises, a global consulting firm.
Her path to success wasn’t easy, but she says anything you want requires some sort of sacrifice. Kiyosha had to give up some nights with friends for work but has no regrets.
“The course load is a lot of work, but it is definitely worth it. It prepares you for real-world scenarios and working environments. You learn to work in a team, how to work with your developers as well as your project managers and communicate,” she said.
She is now using what she learned in the classroom in her new role, but her education hasn’t stopped there. Through her employer, Kiyosha has received her Professional Scrum Master (PSM) level one certification and is working on her Selenium certification.
Although the tech industry hasn’t always had a reputation for being inclusive, Kiyosha says the opportunities she’s been provided as a Black woman are phenomenal. “Women may not be the face of tech, but when you get behind the scenes, we’re all over the place.”
In addition to the Goodwill training courses, Kiyosha was also appreciative of the mock interviews and assistance she received from career navigator, David Washam. “It was essential because I had never worked in tech or knew anything about the interview process. Technical interviews are a whole different ballgame and David helped to prepare me.” He’s also maintained a relationship with Kiyosha, more than one year after finishing her training course, which she appreciates.
Training courses, like the one Kiyosha took, are available free of charge thanks to donations and purchases made by shoppers at Goodwill retail locations. For Kiyosha, who grew up in an at-risk community, the services provided by Goodwill have been transformative to her life and the lives of so many others.
“To be able to get this training, free of charge, and then get career assistance and to see that outcome – I couldn’t ask for anything better. And it makes me feel like, although I don’t have a degree, I’m not worried about that anymore.”