Pictured above: Kelly Craig with her supported employment team
Goodwill employment skills trainers provide daily management of the Group Supported Employment Program, which provides inclusive employment opportunities to individuals with documented disabilities who work together under the supervision of a skills trainer. This integrated program offers intense levels of support, individualized development plans, hands-on training and case management.
Goodwill has 13 community sites in central and coastal Virginia that operate this program. Goodwill is proud to highlight these workforce champions and their impact in the community.
Q. How long have you been with Goodwill?
A. Seven years.
Q. What drew you to your position?
A. I started out as a textile production associate and moved over to the Supported Employment side of Goodwill as an employment skills trainer because I wanted to work directly with people who have documented disabilities and make a positive difference in their lives.
Q. What specific skills and expertise do you have that aid you in your work
A. Lots of patience and understanding.
Q. What do you love about your job?
A. I love teaching the work program participants different skills besides hanging textiles. Helping them learn Goodwill’s mission and core values is a great learning opportunity for the participants. It warms my heart to see their eyes light up when they know an answer to a question when I randomly ask them about Goodwill’s mission or to list a couple of the organization’s core values.
Q. How do the services you provide help individuals with disabilities improve and grow?
A. By providing services to individuals with disabilities in an inclusive setting, they are more likely to continue reaching for their goals. They are more likely to continue in education, and perhaps learn job skills that can carry over to another job once they leave the Goodwill work program. This program helps participants feel included and valued as members of their communities.
Q. What challenges have you overcome in your work?
A. Controlling the ebb and flow of donations is challenging – we don’t know what’s coming in and when, and if the influx is low, we need other assignments for the participants. Developing good relationships with the store’s managers has helped me find other work skills that the participants can develop by training in other areas of the retail store, so that we can create a balance between operational needs and skills.
Q. What do you like about working for Goodwill?
A. I like hearing the participants tell me they enjoy coming to work and learning new skills. It’s satisfying to see the impact I can have on their day-to-day lives.