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Eric Chouinard - I Will Work
Visitors to the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem see exhibitions and collections that include Native American artifacts, fashions of Iris Apfel, photographs by Valerie Belin, and paintings from India. What they don’t see is dust, fingerprints, or smears. That’s because the museum hired an enthusiastic high school student named Eric Chouinard as a member of their maintenance and janitorial team.
The story of Eric’s job at PEM began when Eric enrolled in the Goodwill School to Work program in conjunction with Salem High School. For the entire school year, Eric came twice a week to Goodwill’s job training center in Salem and learned about careers and interviewing skills. When he heard about an internship opening at PEM, he applied – along with nearly 300 other students. But it was Eric who got the call.
"I wasn’t scared at all," said Eric. "The mock interviews I had at Goodwill really helped prepare me. And I feel comfortable talking to people anyway." Eric’s positive attitude and enthusiasm for work won him the internship on his first and only interview. He was quickly noticed by Robert Monk, the director of facilities and security. "Eric had excellent references and that was important because janitorial and maintenance work in a museum is different. We are very particular about who we employ and train," said Monk. "But Eric won us over immediately with his terrific attitude and great work ethic."
When Eric’s internship ended, the museum hired him as a regular employee. "I never had a real paying job before and I felt really excited and grown up," Eric recalled. "I work there five days a week and I love the work. I vacuum the carpets, stack the chairs, wash the windows and glass doors, and keep the bathrooms clean. I like the people I work with and everything in the museum. I go to all the functions and events, too," he added with a note of pride in his voice.
Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries provides shoppers access to good quality clothing and household items with more than 785,000 retail transactions every year.
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