Rising To Overcome Adversity With Goodwill

Clarence Lomax found Goodwill’s employment services while looking to enter the workforce. After serving 19 years in prison, he was struggling in his search and had no experience in today’s hiring and interview processes. Lomax completed Goodwill’s computer basics class and RISE (resume, interview skills, social skills and empowerment) program, a five-day class designed to prepare job seekers to meet the hiring standards of Goodwill’s employer partners.

“I had been in prison for 19 years, just getting back in December 2019. The way things were done when I left are different now. When you went for a job before all you had to do was show that you could complete the tasks and you’d get hired, but there’s more to it now,” said Lomax.

During RISE, job seekers are connected with a team of individuals dedicated to helping them prepare for work including a career advisor, success coach, and a job developer. Lomax received support applying for jobs and developed valuable interview skills, helping him be more confident when meeting potential new employers. Lomax was skeptical at first, unsure if the level of detail and training he received in RISE was necessary, but he was surprised when facing multiple interviews how prepared and comfortable he was under pressure.

“It is so important now. The way you present yourself at the interview makes a difference on whether you’re hired or not,” said Lomax. “If you’ve been out of the job market for a while, you’re not familiar with the process. I faced the same scenarios we practiced during my interview and I felt prepared.”

While completing Goodwill’s computer basics and RISE program, Lomax secured a part-time job. Previously computer illiterate, the computer training made him comfortable using his work-issued laptop and iPad. Shortly after completing the Goodwill classes, Lomax received an offer for a full-time transportation job, with full benefits. He is thrilled to be entering a new phase of his life in March and is particularly grateful to his Goodwill instructor, Sheila Richardson.

“All I can do is thank her. I would like her to know that I appreciate the program and encourage her to keep doing what she’s doing. It might not seem like she’s making a big impact, but she is,” said Lomax. “To the people in the program, once they go on an interview they’re going to see how important RISE can be to them and what an asset it is.”

To learn more about Goodwill’s workforce development services visit https://goodwillvirginia.org/get-job-ready/.