Anthony Southall doesn’t have a shy bone in his body and he loves to share his story. Seven years ago he was referred to a Goodwill skills-building program to gage his interest and abilities. Seven years later, he is excited to come to work every day and be part of a close-knit group who make work fun.
Judy Lane, a Goodwill skills trainer, has worked with Southall for most of his Goodwill career and loves working with all the program participants.
“This group has been together for a long time,” said Lane. “Sometimes they’ll call each other on the weekend, they all have nicknames for each other. It shows how comfortable they are together.”
Southall is a flexible employee and very outgoing. He loves to work as a customer greeter, welcoming shoppers to the store and interacting with the public. Prior to joining Goodwill, he worked in more isolated settings with less on-going support. Socializing with a diverse range of people has allowed him to develop his interpersonal skills.
Beyond the core job skills learned at Goodwill, Southall has become more responsible in his personal life, too. He proudly shares that he keeps his bedroom and bathroom clean every day at the group-home where he lives.
As an individual with a developmental disability, Southall faces challenges every day, many of which can hamper his ability to be employed. As a skills trainer, Lane helps to connect him with resources to overcome these barriers to employment. One essential resource is Logisticare, which provides the transportation he needs to travel the 21 miles from his home to work, giving him the opportunity to live a fuller life.
“Having the chance to experience an integrated environment helps our employees with disabilities work on how to interact with people and overcome those challenges,” said Lane.
Southall’s housemate is also in Goodwill’s skills training program, working at a retail store in Chesterfield. They often talk about their experiences and both enjoy working for the organization. Southall’s parents also love to shop at the Centerville store and see their son thrive in a supportive workplace.
People with disabilities have a range of barriers to employment and often have a lot of disruption in their daily lives. Lane enjoys being the continuity in their world. Coming into work every day they know what to expect and that she will help them to have positive experiences in their day.
“I believe if you have to work you’ve got to have some fun,” said Lane. “If a good song comes on we sing it, I tell them if they want to dance it’s fine as long as they’re still getting their work done.”
To learn more about the Goodwill skills training programs and inclusive work opportunities for individuals with disabilities contact Neil Young.