James Cole


 

James Cole works at one of Goodwill of North Georgia's busiest donation sites. He is a donor specialist, and he puts his unlimited energy to work each time a car pulls in front of the door. As customers drive up to donate, Cole bounds outside to greet them and never forgets to wish them well before they are on their way out again. 

 

The liveliness in Cole as he moves about his job is in his nature; he knows no strangers and jumps at the chance to help out or complete a task. Part of his energy also stems from his connection to the Goodwill mission. Not only does he support the mission; he lived it himself. “I love the mission because it helped me,” he says. “That’s why I love Goodwill – because they’ll help out anybody.” 

 

Long before Cole was a full-time Goodwill employee he was referred to the Woodstock career center by the Georgia Department of Labor. He has Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) and was having a hard time finding work. After he was referred to the career center, Cole partook in the job clubs to get updates on the job market. When a position opened up at a Goodwill store, he jumped at the chance to get to work. “At that point I would have taken anything,” he says. “I’m used to warehouse work, so this [job] kind of goes hand-in-hand with that.” A good fit for the store, Cole worked at the location for a year and a half. He established himself as a motivated, hard worker. Before long he was offered a promotion to his current position at the donation site. “I found what I was good at, which is customer service,” he says. "It’s a habit. I love people.” 

 

Cole often reflects on how his role as donor specialist supports the very services that helped him land his job. He is happy to be where he is. “The best benefit was always, I loved getting feedback to improve,” he says. “[My job coaches] would notice stuff that I needed to work on and come to me and tell me. Each time they did that I would improve more and more.” He continues to accept feedback graciously, always looking for new ways to grow.

Just as he stays busy at work, Cole keeps his mind busy with plans for the future. For now he is considering going back to school to take business classes, which he believes will help him be even better at his current position. He is also involved with ministry work and is constantly growing his faith. Every step forward helps with deeper self discovery, and he knows he has plenty left to explore.

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