Shirley, who was a single mother most of her daughter’s life, spent years working in the restaurant industry. She was shopping at Goodwill to purchase khakis for her job when she inquired about employment. The manager put her in contact with Kimberly, a career coach for our Senior Community Service & Employment Program (SCSEP), designed to link low-income, older workers to on-the-job training that can help them move into paid employment.

Through SCSEP, Shirley began paid training at our Lebanon store 28 hours pers week in March 2022. For six hours per week, she completed computer courses to maintain and upgrade her skills.

In May of that year, she was hired as a part-time cashier and was promoted to a full-time employee by September. Since then, Shirley has been promoted to Team Lead and is currently studying for Goodwill’s Assistant Certification for Excellence (ACE) exam to become a Team Lead II.

She has also taken advantage of Goodwill Cars to Work. Her career coach, TJ, helped her apply for a secured loan through the program, and Goodwill covered the down payment.

“If you make all your payments on time, Goodwill pays you back the interest. It is a wonderful program for me, because I didn’t have to come up with a down payment,” Shirley said. “There are several of us at the Lebanon store who have vehicles because of this fabulous program.”

In addition to Cars to Work, Shirley has utilized our Good Smiles program. She suffers from a gum disease that was worsening her teeth over time, but she couldn’t afford dentures. TJ told her about Goodwill’s Good Smiles program, and she was able to receive dentures for free.

“Goodwill is not really about selling used products. We are about job training and giving people the chance to better themselves and go on to have a better career. People don’t understand that we do so much more than selling donated items,” Shirley said. “I really like this company. We have a great team here. We reflect Goodwill’s attitude and mission.”