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The Job Connection Invested in Job Seekers’ Success

goodwillLast month, Goodwills across the country celebrated Goodwill Week, and here in Northern Arizona, we marked the occasion with four major job fairs and hiring events, including two here in Cottonwood.

There were also some terrific proclamations from elected officials commending Goodwill for the positive effect it has in people’s lives through our work to turn potential into employment and connect people with careers.

The recognition is very nice, but the real reward in working at Goodwill is playing a role in someone’s overcoming a challenge or bringing down a barrier to employment – and then seeing that person soar.

A great example is Linda Singer.

Singer is living an incredible story, marked by the perseverance and strength she has shown in her battle overcoming addiction.

That battle began many years ago, when she lost several members of her family who were very important to her, including the father of her children. Shortly after, her then-12-year-old daughter started acting out dramatically and the immense amount of stress eventually led Singer to rely on alcohol.

It soon became a chronic problem, leading to legal issues, unhealthy relationships with family and friends, and wreaking havoc with her physical and mental health.

“You don’t know how bad,” she recalls now. “I was dying. I knew I was going to be dead by the end of the year.”

Singer persevered. She entered rehabilitation, got the skills she needed to navigate the world without alcohol, and turned her life around. She found a job as a medical biller, was going to church and her family was proud of her.

Then one day she learned her employer was going out of business. The stress of being unemployed could have jeopardized Singer’s sobriety. But Singer knew there was a resource waiting for her – Goodwill.

Singer’s previous work in the human services field made her aware of Goodwill as a resource. She came to what is now called Arizona@Work-Coconino County in The Job Connection at Goodwill. There, she used computers to compile a list of possible employers, got assistance filling out applications, and received vouchers through the Good Samaritan program to get a work interview outfit. Armed with that, she began her job search.

It just so happened that at that time, Goodwill was looking for a billing specialist, and Singer’s expertise was a perfect fit.

Goodwill contracts for Job Training services, and Linda is a critical part of that process. It is very similar to medical billing, but more complex because it’s not just codes for medical services; it’s progress reports to detail how Goodwill services help these customers prepare and be successful in the workplace.

Now Singer is celebrating her continued sobriety, rebuilding strong relationships with family and friends, and continuing her career with Goodwill.

“They gave me a chance to start over,” she said. “With my legal history, I was concerned about securing employment, but Goodwill – knowing full well my history – gave me an opportunity. I am building on my existing skills and realizing my potential.” FBN

By Liz McGinlay

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