The Road to Success

For many job seekers who have experienced Goodwill’s services, stepping in the door of one of our 13 career centers is one of the biggest steps they’ll take in the process. It was a life-changing step for Alva Washington. As an introvert who prefers to keep emotions to herself, Washington was apprehensive to enroll in Goodwill’s all-female highway construction class. “I had a lot going on at the time and didn’t know if I could do it,” she says. Encouragement from the staff at Goodwill’s South DeKalb career center convinced her to take a seat in the class.

Highway construction graduate works as a MARTA bus driver

While enrolled in the 7-week program, Washington received hands-on skills training and job placement assistance. By the end of the program, she successfully earned professional certification in highway construction, OSHA 10-Hour Safety Certification, CDL training, CPR/First Aid Certification and a Georgia State Flagging Certification. She was eligible to attend a 40-hour HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) training, an opportunity only available to top-performing program participants. With great pride, she passed the test and gained her CDL-B permit.

In addition to the training and new credentials, Washington built relationships with Goodwill’s staff in a time of need. She looked to their guidance for help with overcoming challenges like home eviction while she was enrolled in the program. Her road to success was not an easy route. “Goodwill really helped me get back on track,” she says. Committed to finding steady employment upon the completion of the course, Goodwill’s staff connected Washington with resources to help her find a place to live, as well as a place to work.

Shortly after the program ended, Washington’s driving career began with a small transportation company, but was put on hold when she became pregnant and opted to take a leave of absence. Following the break in her employment, Washington later applied for a position as a bus driver at MARTA, which she successfully secured.

Approaching three years as a MARTA bus driver, Washington is pleased with her chosen career. “I really like it. I get to meet a lot of different people and even make friends with some of the regular riders,” she says. Washington often visits the South DeKalb career center to catch up with the staff who championed her through some of her toughest challenges. She also volunteers as a guest speaker at new highway training classes to share her Goodwill journey and resulting success. “Everyone at the career center was always so helpful. They provided me with resources to help with my career and personal life,” she says. As a member of Goodwill’s Alumni Association, she is an advocate for Goodwill as well as for other women who are seeking employment in nontraditional industries.

To learn more about Goodwill’s Highway Construction training program, click here.