In the last four years William Jefferson has transformed into a new man. A military veteran, Jefferson spent eight years in the service and became accustomed to a regimented lifestyle. He knew when to eat, when to sleep and when to work. There was always plenty to do. After his discharge in 1981 his life changed dramatically. He was out of work and unsure of where to turn.
For a while Jefferson tried to go it alone. He found odd jobs, but nothing seemed to fit or last. “I was frustrated a lot and didn’t really know how to deal with that frustration,” he says. After his temper got the best of him at one job, he was let go and turned to substance abuse to numb his feelings of hopelessness and insecurity.
When he found himself on the brink of homelessness Jefferson knew it was time for a change. He sought assistance from his local Veterans Affairs (VA) office and was connected with a vocational rehabilitation specialist at Fort McPherson. Armed with a new support system and empowered to live a life of sobriety Jefferson worked hard to get his life back on track. He knew one way to prove his worth not just to society, but to himself, was to find steady work.
Jefferson’s VA counselor referred him to Goodwill of North Georgia’s Floor Installation program, a collaboration between the VA, Goodwill, Chattahoochee Technical College, the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and Certified Floorcovering Installers (CFI). Through the program, Jefferson and his fellow participants were equipped with collegiate-level training and job skills training to prepare them for professions in the floor installation field.
He had hands-on instruction for laying all types of flooring, from hardwood to laminate and tile. Goodwill also connected him with a case manager, who helped him brush up on soft skills like résumé writing, professional communication and how to dress for work. “It was hard work,” he admits. “I hadn’t had to study in years.”
Upon completion of the program Jefferson landed a paid internship opportunity with a local contractor. He is four years sober and he is earning his own paycheck once again. “I owe a lot to Goodwill for my life today,” he says.