Goodwill Industries of Michiana assists those with barriers to employment. You’ve all heard that statement a million times. The truth is we are all one “thing,” one “tragedy” away from having a barrier in our lives that seems to make gainful employment impossible. Those road-blocks might be incarceration, job training or a disability. This month’s Goodwill Success Story Spotlight tells that story in a powerful way.

Being born with Bilateral Hearing Loss forced Annette to face many challenges. One of those challenges was gaining employment. Although she has always been a hard worker with a stable work history, she had a hard time finding full time employment that allowed her to utilize her skills in customer service.  She was also looking for a schedule that allowed her to care for her two young children with potential for advancement and benefits to support her family.

 In July of 2013, Annette came to Goodwill Industries of Michiana through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Her goals were simple: a full time job with benefits. With the assistance of her Case Manager, Mary Ellen, and her Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Robert, a plan was developed to help her achieve her goals.

Weekly appointments with Elizabeth, her Employment Specialist, helped Annette begin to learn new skills and new ways to apply those things she had learned in previous jobs. She perfected her resume, enhanced her job interview skills and attended job fairs. During this time, her employment specialist suggested a job opportunity working with the South Bend School Corporation as a teacher’s assistant. This opportunity seemed to fit all of the things Annette dreamed of in her perfect job scenario.

Annette was granted an interview. While waiting to interview with human resources, she was stopped by a former teacher who had assisted her during school with sign language services. This teacher had thought so highly of Annette, she suggested that Annette apply for an opening in the Special Education Department as an Educational Interpreter. Annette was soon hired at a primary school as an Educational Interpreter.

Annette continues to work with The South Bend Community School Corporation. She has overcome many challenges in her life and is an inspiration to her family and to other children born with the same challenges she has faced.

 Congratulations, Annette! You have worked so hard for everything you have achieved, and are a powerful role model to so many. We can’t wait to see where your career takes you!