“They say Goodwill changes lives. It changed our lives. They’ve taught us what we needed. They helped us and are still helping.”
Dan and Armen arrived in the United States as refugees. They had escaped with their parents and younger brother from Africa “to find a better life”. Despite being highly educated, their parents did not have jobs and were forced to sell snacks on the streets to make a living and provide for their family.
The local agency that assisted them with their arrival referred Dan and Armen to Goodwill. They had already completed high school and spoke English and felt they could benefit from one of Goodwill’s workforce development programs. Within a month of their arrival they were enrolled in Goodwill’s Manufacture Your Future training program which included technical training, workforce readiness skills and work experience that would enable them to learn the skills needed to get on a career path in the growing manufacturing sector. They were both eager to learn and gain work experience and they were happy to interact with coworkers, which was a completely new experience for them since they had never held a job. They felt they really learned the “dos and don’ts” of working by training in Goodwill’s Contract Manufacturing division.
Upon receiving their certificates of completion from the Manufacture Your Future program, Dan and Armen were ready to land a job. With the help of Goodwill, they worked on their job search and interviewing skills and applied at a local manufacturer. Although they did not get those jobs, they were happy to have had the interview experience. When a second opportunity opened up, they were ready and landed full time jobs at a manufacturing company – Armen as a machine operator and Dan as a
packaging/inspection associate, with many opportunities for growth and advancement.
Dan and Armen decided to continue their education and enrolled at Erie Community College – Armen for Business Administration and Dan in Business with hopes to major in accounting. Their employer fully supported their decision, allowing them to work part time so they could balance school and work. Armen even takes “Zoom classes on lunch”.
Goodwill’s Long Term Employment program has supported these two bright individuals throughout their journey. Armen says, “They say Goodwill changes lives. It changed our lives. They’ve taught us what we needed. They helped us and are still helping.” Dan will proudly tell you he now even has his driver’s license and adds, “We really appreciated all the extra help that Goodwill gave us in our work life and in our personal lives especially with helping us go back to school.”
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