Chris arrived at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, in Charlotte, North Carolina, looking for a job and a second chance. Despite his outstanding work ethic and desire to prove himself, he struggled to find an employer willing to take a chance on him due to some troubles in his past. Chris was usually only able to secure seasonal work for a few months of the year, and described himself as becoming frustrated and disillusioned with the labor market.
In early 2016, he connected to Goodwill through Mecklenburg County’s Department of Social Services’ SNAP E&T program (called FNS E&T in North Carolina). Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont was one of the first third-party SNAP E&T providers to sign on to the State’s SNAP E&T program. Chris believes this was a fortuitous referral because he had a prior interest in working retail and had even considered whether Goodwill would be a place of possible employment for him. As it turned out, the referral was equally fortuitous for Goodwill.
Chris and his career development specialist at Goodwill assessed his needs and career goals. Shortly after enrolling in a seminar at Goodwill (part of the Goodwill University), an opportunity for a 90-day paid on-the-job training position opened up at a local Goodwill store. He applied for it immediately and was hired.
In the on-the-job-training program, Chris flourished—he learned new skills, loved the team of people he worked with, and enjoyed interacting with customers. Chris received glowing support from his manager who described him as “one of the best workers she’s ever had at the store, and one with a bright future.” It was no surprise that he was offered regular employment with the store as a Donation Processor – employment that provides a great benefits package and opportunity for advancement.
Chris is proud to report that he is no longer on SNAP, earning enough to support himself without it. He hopes that other employers, like Goodwill, will see beyond people’s pasts and judge them on their abilities and work ethic, giving them the second chance that he received.