Former OWP/ESE Participant
Current Prosperity Platform Member
MY GOODWILL CAREER and PROSPERITY PLATFORM JOURNEY: It’s about opportunity, hard work, believing in myself, and having others believe in me too.
In 2016, I enrolled in CalWORKs, which helps eligible families with children. As a single mom of two, I was actively seeking a long-term, permanent job so I could provide for my girls. Up to that point, all of my jobs where temporary positions that provided me with job experience. My case worker through CalWORKs let me know that Goodwill had programs that offered subsidized employment through their OWP Program. I thought this would be a good way for me to obtain work experience, improve my job skills, and improve my resumé with Goodwill as a reference. However, I obtained so much more than I ever anticipated.
I enrolled in Goodwill’s Monterey OWP Program and was placed at the Monterey County Food Bank. I then had to quit the program because I had planned to move out of the area. Once my plans to move changed, I reentered the program and was placed as an Administrative Assistant at the Goodwill Culinary Academy in Marina. For the next 6 months, I worked for Chef Luis.
Towards the end of my OWP Program Chef Luis encouraged me to apply for my position at the Culinary Academy because the position was now available as a permanent position. I was excited and figured I would get hired since I had been doing the job through the OWP Program for the last six months. Unfortunately, I was not selected for the position. I was very discouraged but Chef Luis encouraged me to apply for a position in Ecommerce. I never heard from Ecommerce, but I did received a call from my current manager, Jaime Reynolds. Jaime found my resumé on Indeed. She called me in for an interview and I landed a job In Human Resources as a Human Resource Assistant/Receptionist. The only problem was I commuted from Soledad to Santa Cruz. Luckily, this was for a short time because Goodwill was moving to Salinas. Thankfully, Jaime allowed me to come to work early and leave early to avoid traffic on my 104 mile commute.
Before entering the OWP Program I had difficulties with employers not giving me a chance or the opportunity. I wasn’t given the opportunity to prove to employers that I had the job skills, the work ethic and if given the opportunity I would succeed. Employers wouldn’t take a chance with me, they wouldn’t hire me because I didn’t have enough “job experience.” When people don’t have faith in you, when people don’t take a chance on you, when you are not given the opportunity to prove yourself, this takes a toll on you. I started to lose faith and lose confidence in myself.
Enrolling in the OWP Program helped me immensely. The program taught me how to be interviewed. I would have one-on-one mock interviews to prepare for real interviews. My current manager Jaime Reynolds, said one of the reasons she hired me is because she was impressed with how well I interviewed.
I was hired as a regular, full-time employee at Goodwill in Human Resources in January of 2017. Since then, I have been blessed with another daughter; I am now a single mother of three girls. I have been given the opportunity to improve my job skills and knowledge, my boss has sent me to trainings, I have been given more job responsibility, and I have been promoted. I am now a Human Resource Specialist, (HRIS). I am responsible for all leaves of absences, I assist with attendance counseling statements, and I am responsible for our human resource information system (HRIS). These opportunities allowed me to prove myself and I have increased my income by 50%.
In 2019, I became a member of the Prosperity Platform at Goodwill. The Prosperity Planners help individuals like me to achieve our goals. I reached out to Linda Sanchez, my Prosperity Planner when I became a victim of identity theft. My identity was stolen and a credit card opened under my name which had a negative impact on my credit. Linda provided me the map, the step-by step plan, to get the negative credit off my credit report. She also helped me with how to set a budget and stick to it. Without Linda’s help, I wouldn’t have known how to begin to fix my credit and most likely wouldn’t have taken the action to repair my credit. Also, without Linda’s support and guidance I wouldn’t have learned to budget my money as well as I do now.
Even though I know how to budget my money, sometimes life doesn’t prepare us for unexpected expenses. Linda Sanchez and Jaime Reynolds made me aware of the Community Impact Grant from the United Way of Monterey County. The grant assists individuals with rent and utilities who meet certain requirements. As a Prosperity Platform member, Linda encouraged me to apply and I qualified for both rent and utility assistance. This opportunity from Linda and the United Way has had a huge impact on me financially and alleviated so much stress in my life. I had fallen behind on utilities and on my rent because I had unexpected car repairs. I was faced with choosing to fix my car or pay my rent and utilities. As a mother of three girls, two who are school age, my choice was clear. I had no choice but to get my car fixed so I could take my girls to doctor appointments, get them to school, go to the grocery store to put food on the table, and to get to my job that I love and have worked so hard for. Having to choose between losing my job and facing being homeless is horrible. As a mom, you want the best for your children and being faced with this stress is too much. Not only is my car fixed, but with the help from Linda, the Prosperity Platform, and the United Way of Monterey County my rent has been paid and so have my utilities.
Working at Goodwill has really changed my life. Because of my career at Goodwill, I am able to rent my own house for my children and I. I no longer have to worry about how I will feed my children or when their next meal will be. I give a lot of credit to my manager and supervisor as they’ve never given up on me. They saw so much potential in me. Without them giving me the chance and the opportunity, I’m not sure where I would be in my life at this very moment. I get emotional when I talk about it or think about it, but Goodwill has given me the opportunity to work and to gain the experience I needed. My boss didn’t care that I had very little experience. I was still given the opportunity, the chance, and that’s something I will forever be thankful for. I’ve been here for 3 years now. I work with the greatest team, and I couldn’t and ask for anything better.
My goal with Goodwill Central Coast is to continue working at advancing my knowledge and my career. I plan on continuing to work with Linda Sanchez, as a member of the Prosperity Platform. My hope is that one day my credit and my budget will give me the opportunity to buy a home for my girls and I.
Thank you Linda Sanchez, Goodwill Central Coast Prosperity Planner and the United Way of Monterey County.