For many people with obstacles in their background, finding a career isn’t easy. Despite roadblocks in his past, Theotis was able to find jobs, but landing a career proved extremely difficult. Theotis faced the challenges like many of those with a rocky background so often do when looking for a career – decreased employer interest, limited career options, lack of resources, and a limited network. Theotis felt as if he was out of options until, one day, someone told him about Goodwill.
“I was told about Goodwill’s construction training program by a co-worker at the time,” Theotis said. “I needed some help finding a career – I didn’t have trouble finding jobs, but I needed help finding a lasting career.”
In 2010, Theotis came to Goodwill’s former Career Development Center and was welcomed by a team of people ready and willing to help him on his journey of finding a career. A team member in the Job Connection met with Theotis, learned about his skills and interests, and then placed him in Goodwill’s construction skills training program. It didn’t take long for Theotis to find a home at Goodwill.
“Every day I would walk in, and I was greeted with a smile,” Theotis said. “Everyone at Goodwill had a customer service mindset. They wanted me, and expected me, to do good things.”
Through Goodwill’s construction skills training program, Theotis learned construction safety, how to properly handle tools, construction skills and techniques, computer basics and how to craft a resume, as well as improve his interviewing and customer services skills. Most importantly, Theotis gained a new outlook on life.
“Goodwill helped me get past my fear of putting my face out there, despite the obstacles from my past,” Theotis said. “They helped me refine my thinking and my way of doing things.”
After graduating from the construction skills training program, Theotis was hired by Goodwill’s transitional employment program in which he worked with Goodwill’s maintenance department for several months. There, he perfected many of the skills he had recently learned in the construction skills training program while he searched for a career.
After completing the transitional employment program, Theotis was hired by a local healthcare organization, where he worked for a year in the housekeeping department and was recognized numerous times as an outstanding employee. It was a good first step, however it wasn’t the career Theotis ultimately wanted. Then, in 2012, Theotis was hired by Charlotte Housing Authority as a Technician I. Only one year later, he was promoted to a Technician II, a position he still proudly holds today. Theotis manages all aspects of apartment maintenance, including electrical and HVAC maintenance, appliance repair, plumbing, painting, customer service and more.
Theotis is proud of his career and the fact that he has obtained family sustaining employment despite the barriers in his past. However, the most important gift that Theotis has been given along his career journey is the opportunity to help others.
“The greatest thing I got out of Goodwill is that they have allowed me to help other people with backgrounds similar to my own,” Theotis said. “If I can only help one out of 100 people by sharing my story, that’s good enough for me. Helping that one person and pointing them in the right direction is my way of punching generational poverty in the gut.”
Theotis’ advice to anyone needing help getting back on their feet and finding a career is to be open to receiving help. His hard work and determination, along with the help of Goodwill, have opened up an entire future of possibility for him.
“My goal is to start a legacy within my family of success,” Theotis said.
The Goodwill Opportunity Campus has a focused resource available for individuals with obstacles in their background called The Center for Community Transitions, which provides employment, transition, and support services and restores and strengthens family bonds.