“I have multiple felonies. I thought I would have to work in a factory for the rest of my life. I never thought I could be anything. Not only did Goodwill give me a chance to work there, but they helped me leave.”

Tracy was living in a sober living home when she learned about Goodwill’s RISE program, which stands for “reintegrating individuals successfully every day.” After graduating from the RISE program, Tracy began working at the Goodwill store in Versailles.

There, she was matched with a free career coach who encouraged her to enroll in our Work and Learn program, which allows full-time Goodwill employees the opportunity to work 30 hours per week in the store and 10 hours per week toward an industry-recognized credential, WHILE receiving pay for the full-time wages (40 hours).

Through the program, Tracy earned her peer support certification and has been working as a peer support specialist for nearly two years at Stepworks in Elizabethtown.

“When I started at Goodwill, I had no place to live, no job, no license, no car, no anything,” Tracy said. “Now, my husband and I live in an apartment, we both have vehicles, and he regained shared custody of his children. We have peace of mind now.”

In the spring, Tracy plans to enroll in Elizabethtown Community & Technical College to earn her alcohol and drug counselor certification.

“Even though I don’t work at Goodwill anymore, my career coach still checks on me. It keeps me on track with my goals,” Tracy said. “When you get a job at Goodwill, they don’t just care about what you do when you are with them. They want to make sure your life will be fulfilled after you leave. If you don’t want to work there forever, they will help you get where you want to be. No other employer does that.”

Tracy (left) is picture with Allison, her Goodwill career coach.