Josh Clemmons graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He promptly took a job within his dream career field upon graduating. His future looked bright.

But in his mind, something wasn’t right.

He had struggled with substance abuse since age 16, but after just seven months in his new role, he lost control. Alcohol and marijuana use escalated to a battle with methamphetamine three years ago. He was incarcerated for possession, and like that, Josh had lost the job – and much else – he worked so diligently for. His life turned dim.

In wake of his several stints in prison, Josh had to start over. He was introduced to the Men’s Addiction Recovery Campus (MARC) in Bowling Green, where Goodwill offers soft skills classes for those with disadvantages in obtaining employment. He’s been clean for nearly a year and a half since, and that proved to be a small factor in his greater goal: becoming an engineer once again.

Josh was in treatment in May 2019 when he met his Goodwill career coach at the Soft Skills Academy. After completing requirements for the program and MARC, he was able to begin temporary employment in just two short weeks. This year alone, as of May, Goodwill career coaches have assisted 906 persons in finding full-time employment with an average wage of $12.14 per hour.

But that wasn’t enough for Josh. Despite his limitations given his background, he quickly found employment with a better wage all the while searching for an opportunity to return to the engineering field, which presented itself sooner than he imagined.

Goodwill assisted Josh with his resume, interview skills and even helped him purchase necessary equipment for the position. After several interviews in which he spoke in detail about his background, Josh was earning $15 an hour with full benefits back in the career field of his dreams. He began at Scott & Ritter, known for offering job seekers a second chance, in November 2019 and was eyeing a promotional position as of February.

“I want to keep learning every day and learn as much as I can,” he said, “advance within the company and help the company grow as much as I can.”

More importantly, Josh is growing in the process.

“We have hopes that Josh will not be a laborer forever,” said David Bayles, Vice President of Scott & Ritter. “He will advance within the company and utilize his degree in the future. He can go as far as he wants to go.”