Charlie Cranford at Goodwill of North Georgia’s 50th store openingMeet Charlie Cranford

More than anything else in the world, Charlie Cranford wants his independence and a place of his own. He has struggled with language patterns and mobility challenges his whole life, but he is determined to make it on his own. As he searched for a way to get his feet wet in the working world, he was referred to Goodwill of North Georgia’s Work Evaluation program.

While at Goodwill, Cranford worked in the Woodstock store, helping to process donations and assist customers on the sales floor. Immediately his positive attitude and willingness to work distinguished him as an asset on the job. “He performed so well in the program, he was recommended for supported employment,” says Nikki Hardy, retention job coach at Goodwill. Supported employment is a service for people with disabilities. Through the service, employees are assisted with obtaining and maintaining employment and have an assigned a job coach to help them navigate workplace challenges. Shortly after he began his search for permanent employment, Cranford was offered an opportunity to work at Publix as a front end clerk.

Now more than five months into his job at Publix, Cranford continues to set his sites high. He often reminds his mother he is well on his way to a residence of his own. Additionally, he continues to accept new challenges and opportunities outside of the workplace.

Cranford recently agreed to be a guest speaker at Goodwill of North Georgia’s 50th store opening. He faced the speech head on, and kept the crowd clapping throughout the ceremony. His closing remarks were a testament to how Goodwill’s process can help people overcome workplace barriers and find employment. “Donations help people with disabilities, like me, find jobs,” he said.

Finishing the speech with a flourish of his hand before passing away the microphone, it was clear Cranford is comfortable in his skin and always ready for what is next.