Goodwill’s job training, career services, and programs help people achieve independence.
“The staff at MassHire was very knowledgeable and helped me figure things out.”
When Sebyera Bundu came to MassHire Boston Career Center, the one-stop career center Goodwill operates, she was at the end of her rope.
She was living in a shelter with her young son and feeling anxious about the future. She had been enrolled in a nursing program that had recently lost accreditation and she was unemployed. Sebyera knew she needed to get back on track.
At MassHire, Sebyera attended several workshops and met with a career advisor who helped her review her options. She decided to enroll in a medical assistant training program. MassHire referred her to Boston Career Institute and helped her navigate the process to secure housing.
Sebyera completed her training program without interruption. However, her internship at Tufts Children’s Hospital was put on hold for several months because of the pandemic. “It was frustrating,” she said. Throughout the process, MassHire staff supported Sebyera.
The internship resumed in the summer and when she completed it, Sebyera was hired full-time as a medical assistant and coordinator at the hospital. “It has been great,” Sebyera said of her new job. “I love working with children. I’m thankful that everything eventually worked out the way it did.”
Sebyera said MassHire was there to help when she needed it most. “The staff at MassHire was very knowledgeable and helped me figure things out.”
“Right now, we are focused on keeping everyone healthy and safe, that is the most important thing.”
Every day, Alicia Monteiro tries to comfort individuals who are dealing with isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic. Working as a brain injury residential counselor at Eliot Community Human Services in Braintree, Alicia sees her residents struggle because of limited social interactions.
Alicia is helping others now. When she came to MassHire Boston Career Center, she had been unemployed for more than a year and needed help herself. A career advisor told her about Goodwill’s Human Services Employment Ladder Program (HELP), which prepares people to work in human services.
Alicia was hired at Eliot before she graduated in early March. Alicia has stayed in her job throughout the pandemic, making sure that those in her residence are supported. Goodwill’s HELP program gave her the tools to navigate along the way, she noted.
“It was a good fit for me,” Alicia said of HELP. “It was exactly what I was looking for.”
Alicia is hopeful that life for her residents will become more normal soon. “Right now, we are focused on keeping everyone healthy and safe,” she said. “That is the most important thing.”
“I love to work.”
Rafael Dingui has grown a lot at Goodwill.
When he first came to Goodwill through the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, Rafael had a difficult time following directions and communicating with his peers, according to his case manager.
Rafael participates in Goodwill’s Employment Supports Program, which prepares individuals with developmental disabilities for work. The program provides training and case management to help participants improve social skills, become job ready, learn on-the-job, and move to competitive employment when they are ready.
Working with Goodwill staff, Rafael became a better communicator and improved his listening skills. He paid closer attention. Soon, Rafael became involved in on-the-job training in Goodwill’s retail enterprise. He trained on the tasks associated with being a material handler in the Springfield distribution center, while also learning about other positions and supporting other trainees.
A social person with a friendly and outgoing personality, Rafael struggled a bit when Goodwill had to temporarily stop production at the Springfield distribution center in the spring. “I missed seeing everyone,” he said. “It was hard not coming here every day.”
Despite that brief setback, Rafael has demonstrated his skills on the job, is proud of the progress he has made, and wants to move to competitive employment in the community.
“I love to work,” he said with a smile.
“I wanted to work in human services, but I kept hearing that I didn’t have the necessary experience. It was frustrating.”
As a child, Dugana lived in Medford before moving to Georgia with her family when she was a teenager. She returned to Boston in 2018 for more job opportunities, but was unable to find work. Instead, she found herself homeless and living at a shelter in Roxbury with her newborn.
“I wanted to work in human services, but I kept hearing that I didn’t have the necessary experience,” said Dugana. “It was frustrating.”
Her case worker at the Department of Transitional Assistance told her about Goodwill’s Human Services Employment Ladder Program (HELP), which prepares people to work in human services. That was all Dugana needed to hear.
Dugana enrolled in the HELP program in the fall of 2018. The program, which includes eight weeks in the classroom and an internship, allowed her to get the training she needed and eventually helped her get a job as an intake receptionist at Bridge Over Troubled Waters in Downtown Crossing working with homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth. She also found permanent housing for herself and her young son.
Now focused on finishing her college degree and becoming a social worker, Dugana is optimistic. “Things have turned around,” Dugana said. “I’m very hopeful for the future.”
“This is the next challenge for me and I want to make the best of it.”
When you meet Rich, you understand the importance of second chances. Rich’s belief in the ability to turn one’s life around is infectious. And he doesn’t just talk the talk – he puts his words into action and follows through.
Rich was at the Boston Pre-Release Center in Roslindale. Prior to the Boston Pre-Release Center, Rich was incarcerated at MCI-Shirley in minimum security. Rich has dealt with substance abuse issues for much of his life, but said he participated in recovery programs at Shirley and is now “100 percent clean.”
The East Boston native got his position at the BJ’s Bakery through MassHire Boston Career Center as part of a new program with the Massachusetts Department of Correction. The program helps individuals returning from incarceration learn how to search for a job and find employment opportunities by accessing the career center and its services.
“I’ve loved coming to MassHire Boston Career Center,” Rich said, “and I’m always telling the younger guys about it. They need to take advantage of it. I got my job here and I’m still looking at other opportunities.”
“I like working at the store and helping customers. I also like to work with my new co-workers and teach them things.”
Fast-forward to the present and Josephine is an outgoing person who loves to work and help others. A key driver of that transformation has been Josephine’s participation in Goodwill’s Employment Supports Program in Springfield.
At Goodwill, Josephine learned job and social skills and now works at The Goodwill Store in Chicopee on a part-time basis as an assistant sales associate. The work has helped her open up and engage with others.
“I like working at the store and helping customers,” said Josephine. “I also like to work with my new co-workers and teach them things.”
Her work and training at Goodwill has helped her focus on her future and hopes to work in food services someday.
“When they learned I was a veteran, they connected me with the veterans rep. We started working together right away. It was great to be able to make that connection.”
Denzel, a Navy veteran, came to MassHire in the spring of 2019 after being unemployed for nearly a year. Up until then, his job search had been frustrating. He did not have high hopes when he walked into MassHire.
But things changed – and for the better.
“When they learned I was a veteran,” Denzel said, “they connected me with the veterans rep. We started working together right away. It was great to be able to make that connection.”
In the Navy, where he had served from 2011-15, Denzel had worked as a medic. Now, out of the military, he wanted to do something where he was still helping others.
Working closely with MassHire’s veterans representative, Denzel began refining his resume, honing his interview skills, and applying for targeted jobs. By July 2019, he was hired as an Information and Referral Specialist at Brighton Marine, a veteran network community.
“This is a great job for me,” Denzel said. “It’s in the field I wanted and I’m helping veterans get the services they need. I’m very happy the way things turned out.”
“I like this job a lot. I get to move around and I’m always busy. It’s fun.”
Paul was referred to Goodwill’s Salem Training Center in 2015 by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. At 22, he had aged out of the public school system in Lynnfield without a connection to a job. He was eager to work.
After receiving job readiness training, Paul began working at one of Goodwill’s mobile work crews at American Surgical Company in Salem. He liked the job, but wanted to be closer to home. Working with his Goodwill case manager, he started a job search and applied for a position at Amazon Prime as a personal shopper at the Whole Foods in Lynnfield. He got it and it was just what he was looking for in a job.
At Whole Foods, Paul uses a hand-held device to see what he needs to get to fulfill an order. He has been at the job since June 2018 and knows his way around the bustling grocery store like the back of his hand.
“I like this job a lot,” said Paul. “I get to move around and I’m always busy. It’s fun.”
Paul’s supervisors have praised his hard work and he enjoys the independence he achieves from working and saving money.
“I like coming here and doing my job. Everyone is very nice. It’s a good place for me to come and work every day.”
There is a look of determination on Vera’s face when she works. Whether it’s tagging clothes in the back room at Goodwill’s location in Danvers or placing items on the sales floor, Vera does it all with tenacity and skill.
Vera first came to Goodwill’s Salem Job Training Center in 1989 through the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services and over the years has had a number of successful job placements in the community. After she was laid off from a restaurant chain in early 2018, she was eager to get back to work.
Goodwill was set to open The Goodwill Store and Donation Center in Danvers in March 2018, and Vera was a great candidate for a production assistant positon at the new location. It is work that suits her well.
“I like coming here and doing my job,” she said. When she works on the floor, she enjoys meeting the customers. “Everyone is very nice. It’s a good place for me to come and work every day.”
With that, Vera gets back to work, her determination as strong as ever.