Ryan Maynor had been working in the construction industry for 10 years, but he was looking to advance his career by taking courses in the electrical trades.
“I wanted to learn a new trade, and I knew that electrical is one of the best trades you can get into,” he stated. “I knew that electricians get paid well, and I was tired of doing drywall. I thought about getting back into school and taking electrical classes. One of my friends found out about Goodwill and showed me the website.”
From there, Ryan took quick action to sign up for Goodwill University’s tuition-free courses.
“I found Marvin Kelley [Director, Construction and Trade Training]’s number and called him. He said it was the last day to apply, but if I could make it out [to the Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center] before 5:30, he would give me my placement test,” Ryan recalled.
Ryan passed his placement test and began taking courses shortly afterwards.
“It was a great experience. The class was fun, the professor was great, and Goodwill helped get me some tools,” Ryan said. “The staff have been really supportive. They help you get your foot into the door, and they don’t charge anything. To me, that’s a life changer.”
Meanwhile, Marvin had done some advocating for Ryan behind the scenes.
“I had been talking to my boss about moving to electrical for two or three weeks,” Ryan said. “Marvin had called [my boss] and told him I’d signed up for the classes. That showed him that I was really pursuing this career, and he asked me to interview for an electrical position that Monday. That really meant a lot.”
Ryan was soon able to start work as an Electrical Apprentice for Howard Brothers Electric Company. Passing his 90-day mark with the company brought not only experience, but also a well-deserved raise.
In addition to free training courses, Goodwill participants also have access to free wraparound services, such as working with a Career Navigator. Robert Johnson helped Ryan progress in his career in ways that he never thought he would.
“At first, I was skeptical about it; I wasn’t sure if I actually wanted the services. But I learned a lot from Robert,” Ryan explained. “We did mock interviews, and I learned how to navigate conversations with my boss. I told him about my raise, and he was really excited about it.”
Ryan’s journey to success was more than just a career shift; it was a transformation of his entire life.
“I’m from Wilmington, North Carolina. I struggled with drug and alcohol abuse since 2007. I graduated from college with a degree in biology, but I never really used it. I never got a stable job and bounced around staying with friends and family. I moved to Charlotte to attend a rehabilitation program,” Ryan shared.
Because of his new path to prosperity, Ryan now sees an abundance of possibilities for his future. He has thought about going back to school, becoming a licensed electrician, or even starting his own business.
“The sky’s the limit. I’m pushing myself to be all I can be,” Ryan exclaimed. “This has been a life-changing opportunity for me. I’m grateful that people donated and made this possible. I’ll be more than willing to donate myself and give back.”
Courses like the one Ryan 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.