Nana Frimpongma says her work ethic comes from her father, who recently passed away at the age of 109. “He was very active. Even though he was old, if you told him not to do something, he’d do it,” she said. Frimpongma was working two jobs to provide for her children, but her father’s death was a catalyst for her quest for more stable and long-term employment.
Her journey to success started when she applied for benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and saw a flyer for customer service training at Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia. “I really needed a job, so I thought if I could get into the program it would help me find one,” said Frimpongma.
She made an appointment at Goodwill’s Community Employment Center on Midlothian Turnpike in Richmond in April 2017, where an employment specialist assessed her job skills. Frimpongma enrolled in the customer service program, where she learned hard and soft skills important to that field.
One of the lessons that grabbed her attention was learning how to handle more than one customer at a time. “Goodwill teaches you things that people think don’t matter, but the employer looks at it,” she said. After completing the three-week program and taking an exam, Frimpongma earned a customer service credential from the National Retail Federation.
Goodwill’s involvement in Frimpongma’s journey to success continued well after the completion of her training program. Her employment specialist, Sarah Mason, said support from Goodwill’s job readiness program includes weekly updates on job fairs Goodwill’s five community employment centers. “If I saw a hiring event that matches the personalized career plan we created for Nana, I called her immediately,” said Mason. As for Mason looking out for employment opportunities for her, Frimpongma said, “She really encouraged me, and I liked that.”
While at one of these job fairs, Frimpongma said a hiring manager from Dana’s Habitat Inc., a residential group home in Richmond, heard about her customer service training at Goodwill. “She said she thought I would be the right person for her job opening,” said Frimpongma. Her interview went so well, the manager made Frimpongma an immediate job offer.
Today, Frimpongma works as a full-time documentation specialist. She is responsible for compiling paperwork from case managers and tracking their daily goals. Frimpongma wants others to know that Goodwill does more than just help people find a paycheck. “They treat you like family. They will continue to call you and make sure you’re doing well and the job is working out,” she said.
Frimpongma says her new job will help her afford to go back to her native country of Ghana to bury her father. “He had a long life. He was blessed. That’s how I remember my dad.”