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A Dream Come True: Vince’s Goodwill Story

  • Jamie Coulson |
  • | Mission

Vince first came to Goodwill in 2018. At this time Vince joined a pre-vocational training offered by Goodwill. Upon completion of this program, he then applied for the Industrial Skills Training Program. In this program, he learned skills related to warehousing, production and packing.

Nearing the end of his training Vince was paired with Melissa, his job coach. When Melissa first met with Vince, she had asked him what his dream job was. She was excited to hear that it was Vince’s dream to work at Best Buy as this was an attainable goal that Vince could work toward. According to Vince, his mind only works around technology. 

“He was so excited at the possibility of working for Best Buy. That was the last place he applied and it was his dream so we worked to make it come true,” Melissa said.

Best Buy’s Externship Program

After interviewing, the hiring manager explained that he believed Vince would be a great fit for their new Externship Program.

Applying for the externship with Best Buy challenged Vince in unique ways, but he was committed to securing the position.

“It was about nine-months before he got to start,” Melissa said. “We interviewed and learned about the program in March or April, and he didn’t get to start until October. It took a while to get the funding but the wait was so worth it.”

The Best Buy externship is a new partnership for the Goodwill of Central Iowa team, involving partnership with Best Buy, Goodwill, and Iowa Vocational Rehab Services (IVRS).

During the 8-week program, Best Buy provided on the job training for Vince to learn new skills, IVRS paid Vince for the 8 weeks he was training, and Melissa worked alongside him as his job coach. Vince began this program in October and has since graduated and is now working part time at Best Buy.

Job coaching to achieve success

Through job coaching Vince has worked to develop soft skills such as looking people in the eye when speaking to them and communicating with customers and coworkers. “Melissa would put a green sticker dot on her head,” Explained Vince. “When I talked to her it was all I could focus on, she looked ridiculous!”  

“Working with Melissa has been really great,” said Vince. “She has been a big help if I felt lost or if things got out of order. In these situations, she would always help me reach out to one of my co-workers.”

Since starting in October, Vince has become more comfortable with his co-workers. Other employees have expressed to Vince that they have diagnosed disabilities. This has provided for a very accepting and supportive environment for Vince to work in and be a part of.

Being hired on as a formal employee for Best Buy, Vince is “owner of the movies” as he is specific to the Movie Department. Vince designs the planogram for the movie section, meaning he builds the box set ups and changes out any media or pictures that are seen throughout the area.

When asked what the biggest thing he has learned, Vince replied “taking my time.” Some of the processes took Vince some prompting until he was able to perform them correctly on a consistent basis. Melissa has named him “master of the movie scanner” as that was one of the tasks he struggled with at the beginning. Vince expressed his excitement as he is now able to scan his movie tags in under an hour.

Continued learning

Being department specific is not stopping Vince from growing and learning new tasks in the store such as strengthening technology skills and building online orders. “One thing I am really proud of is completing my online training,” Said Vince. “I had a difficult time working through the cashier course since I don’t work our registers. After completing that, I can say now that I know our store policy by heart.”

Working at Best Buy has allowed Vince to get out more. Vince is very enthused about his newfound work.  Starting at 6 AM, he arrives early to every shift. “I wake up at 3:30 every day to prepare for work. Providing I remember to eat, I am good to roll.” 

Vince’s confidence since being in his position has grown significantly and he is always willing to lend a hand. He has expressed to his supervisor that he is willing to work extra if they are ever short staffed.

 “I want people to know that I am helpful,” said Vince. “If anyone has a question, they can always come and ask me. I will be happy to assist them.”

Read Juan’s story to see another example of success driven by Goodwill’s job training and support.

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