Goodwill Industries International’s Kenneth Shaw Graduate of the Year Award honors an outstanding person for completing a Goodwill Industries® career program and becoming competitively employed by a non-Goodwill employer in the community.
Goodwill of Western New York is proud to have nominated Carra Wilson for this prestigious award. She was presented a Distinguished Nominee Award during Goodwill Week commemorations. Carra had recently received one of Goodwill of WNY's Achiever of the Year awards at the Pathways to Success Annual Awards event held in October. She was recognized for her inspiring story of overcoming multiple barriers to obtain a position at Delaware North where she is thriving. She has recently enrolled at Buffalo State College to obtain her degree in Hospitality Management and is a shining example for her young son - and for all of us.
Read her story below:
Carra graduated from Trocaire College with an associate's degree in Hospitality. She planned to continue her education, but the birth of her son delayed her educational plans. Carra needed to work to support herself and her son but, because of her learning disability, she knew she needed assistance.
Carra was referred to Goodwill from ACCES-VR (Adult Career & Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation) to obtain the help she needed. She worked with Goodwill's Employment Services Manager and was placed in four different positions - but was not able to retain employment. Carra was having difficulty making work-related decisions and needed to improve her workplace behavioral skills.
That is when Goodwill realized that Carra would benefit from supported employment. In supported employment Carra worked with her job coach to identify positions that would match her educational training. Once in a position, her job coach would provide on-site workplace guidance.
In just two short weeks, a position became available at Delaware North for a reservations sales agent in their Parks and Resorts division. Carra was now ready to apply and succeed this time. She landed the job! Her Goodwill job coach worked side by side with Carra every day for the first two weeks to help her complete the required training and develop peer supports and is still just a phone call away today.
Carra is flourishing in her new position. She is in the top 10% in sales and has been the top salesperson of the month. She has been recognized for referring other qualified Goodwill clients to Delaware North for employment. She has even won a weekend at one of Delaware North’s resorts because of her exceptional performance! The recruitment team at Delaware North says, "Carra has a drive to excel. She is excited and competitive, and that's what we love about her."
Carra will tell you, "I was beginning to think I'd never be able to keep a job, but I got the support I needed and I love my new job!"