Success Story: Rohan Brown

As a young man, Rohan thought about going to college but didn’t know what he wanted to do with a degree and he didn’t want to go in to debt to pay for it.

One day in 2011 as he was giving plasma to make some cash, he heard about the job training and placement services Goodwill offers.

He walked in to Goodwill’s Job Connection on Freedom Drive where he met with a career counselor who recommended that Rohan enroll in the Goodwill Construction Services Training. Rohan completed the seven-week training program and gained forklift and NCCER certifications. He began working on a housing project in partnership with Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity. Once the project was complete, he went back to Goodwill to find more work opportunities.

This time Rohan was directed to Goodwork Staffing, Goodwill’s temporary-to-hire staffing agency. There was an opening at Anita Goodesign, an embroidery design company. Rohan started at Anita Goodesign in 2012 on a temporary basis, packaging marketing software materials. Rohan’s quota was to package 1,000 CD’s every day, but he clearly exceeded the company’s expectations and would package 2,000 CD’s a day. Rohan knew that if he pushed himself, he would demonstrate his value to the company.

“I wanted to give my all today so that my employer wanted me tomorrow, the next day and eventually full time,” said Rohan.

Rohan’s hard work did capture the attention of owners Steve and Aundrea Wilson.

“Rohan is diligent and always has a smile on his face. He approached me and emphasized that he appreciated the work and wanted to know if there was more he could do,” said Aundrea.

Rohan inquired about design because he liked to draw. Aundrea and Steve agreed to give Rohan the opportunity to be a machine operator and to learn the steps for embroidery.

“I never thought ‘needle and thread’” smirked Rohan.

However, he spent the next nine months learning how to work the embroidery machine. He learned about the various threads, style and embroidery fabrics. This hands-on work experience helped to propel him to his next step of becoming a digitizer.

The digitizer is an important position in Anita Goodesign’s company. The digitizer takes the pattern designed by the creative department and digitizes it in to an easy-to-follow pattern for the customer to then follow to create the pattern. Rohan is one of three digitizers in the company. Steve, the CEO and founder, is one of the others. It was important for Rohan to learn how to work the embroidery machine first so that he could digitize a pattern that would work easily for the embroiderer.

“What he didn’t learn in school, he more than worked to learn here,” said Steve. “ He has a strong work ethic and determination and he always has a positive attitude.”

Since Rohan started as a temporary worker two years ago, he has worked his way from an hourly position to a salaried position with health benefits and a 401K. In addition, he has developed a valuable and highly specialized skill.

“He has a skill I can’t hire. It’s not a skill you learn in design school or college or have on your resume. You need to be trained in the process from design to the end product” said Steve. “It’s people like Rohan that make businesses grow.”

Antia Goodesign recently released a new pattern and couldn’t think of a more appropriate name than “Rohan’s Roses.”

“Rohan worked on these 15 rose designs for so long, he earned the right to have the design named after him,” said Steve.  

Rohan was deeply moved by this honor.

“I loved it being named Rohan. I thought to myself, we make 4,900 copies of this pattern so at least 4,900 people out there will know who I am!” said Rohan.

Rohan is very happy at work. He smiles as he shares that this is the first job he’s ever had where he doesn’t wish for Friday when he wakes up.

“I applied the skills I learned in my Goodwill training, which was to be on time and plan ahead. I apply these classroom skills everyday in my job,” said Rohan. “Goodwill led me here today. I learned how to be persistent and to never give up. Always strive to be your best.”

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