“Everyone told me in the trucking industry that you’d have to go on the road to be able to get a local route because I was new. And I was willing, but I couldn’t because I got my son! I didn’t want to just leave him, I wanted to be there to watch him grow. I want to show him the things that no one showed me coming up without a father in my life.
I continued to work, and they (Goodwill) offered me a route, a local route. The one thing that I prayed for ─ a route where I could be home every night with my son. That’s all I wanted, a trucker’s pay and a route without having to leave him in someone else’s care.”
Shawn Jackson, Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia Truck Driver
Searching for a “Normal Life”
Throughout turbulent times and challenges Shawn Jackson has persevered, working hard to be a role model for his family, especially his young son. After a long period of incarceration, Jackson was determined to prove himself and gain the “normal life” he had always prayed for.
In 2018, Jackson reached out to Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia for help in finding a job. As a felon, it was hard to look for employment and his resources were limited by transportation. Goodwill’s services are almost exclusively offered on bus routes to enable anyone to access career support services. Jackson received resume-development assistance. He also talked through his skills and interests with an advisor to help find a career path that would be right for him.
Growing with Goodwill
Jackson was hired by Goodwill’s transportation department as a materials handler, helping to unload donations and receive trailers. Eager to progress, Jackson quickly learned from those around him and was trained to take on more responsibility in stages, gradually earning promotions and new skills.
“I also learned communication skills. Because I had guys working under me I had to learn how to communicate. I have no problem saying, ‘Can you load this to store 27 please?’ or ‘Thank you for doing that. You did a great job!’. I had to learn how to listen before I spoke because everyone here knows more about this department than I do. I’m here, I want to learn,” said Jackson.
After securing a grant to gain his commercial driver’s license (CDL), Jackson practiced his skills riding with Goodwill truck drivers, learning from their experience until he was awarded a yard jockey position.
Shawn’s Life as a Father
Outside of work, Jackson had sole custody of his infant son and was working hard to provide stability and opportunities for his child. In February 2021, Jackson was promoted to a truck driver role, earning a pay increase that allowed him to move into a two-bedroom home with his son and purchase a vehicle.
“It might sound like something rehearsed, but if it wasn’t for Goodwill and the transportation department, my supervisor and the guys I work with, I never would have been here. I was blessed to come here, and I can’t wait to see what else God has planned for me and my son.”