BUILDING A LIFE THROUGH THE POWER OF WORK

In the 15 years Michael Henley has worked for Goodwill his life has changed drastically. After being referred to Goodwill’s employment program by the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Henley worked with a Goodwill success coach to develop through the power of work.

Previously Henley worked variable hours bussing tables at MacDonald’s, and now has a full-time role in Goodwill’s supported employment program. After working on his job skills for a janitorial role at the Lewis Powell U.S. Courthouse, Henley took a money management class with Goodwill and learned how to work towards new goals. Building on these skills, he was able to secure his own housing and develop an independent life, with the help of services and stable employment provided by Goodwill.

“In my late 20s, I was still living at home. I needed to learn how to budget my money and start putting some aside. The class with Goodwill taught me to figure out what my bills are and the amount of money I’m bringing in to make a budget every month. I still do that now, every month. I don’t follow it to the penny, but I make sure I always put aside for my bills,” said Henley.

Henley thrives in a routine environment. The calm atmosphere and individualized support in his work provides a platform to develop other aspects of his life, such as adding to his extensive movie collection or visiting Richmond’s Byrd theater to enjoy his love for cinema. “If there is a lot of stress and pressure I don’t do so well. Every now and then something will come up, but nothing too bad. I prefer things being a little more predictable, it’s easier to deal with,” explained Henley.

Henley’s janitorial employment at the federal courthouse is through Goodwill’s industrial services, the organization’s second-largest social enterprise after donated goods. Goodwill’s federal contracts are part of the AbilityOne program that requires that a minimum of 75 percent of the direct labor hours be paid to individuals with significant disabilities.

“Goodwill’s mission is in action every day through industrial services,” said Steve Huyck, director of Goodwill Services, Inc., Goodwill’s related entity for workplace solutions and government contracts. “Michael is a great asset to our team. People with disabilities want to and can work,” added Huyck. “We take great pride in meeting them where they are to help them perform their best on the job and develop skills for life.”

Henley is proud of his work and the life it has enabled him to build, he firmly believes in Goodwill’s mission, helping people help themselves through the power of work. “Any time people may be looking for assistance or help finding a job, I mention the job centers. I tell them ‘Go to Goodwill, they can help you.’”

To learn more about the AbilityOne employment program, visit https://goodwillvirginia.org/get-job-ready/vocational-services/abilityone/.