Antonious Powell had been managing his own business, a mobile car wash lab. With weather and the number of customers being unpredictable, Antonious decided it was time to pursue a different career path. He wanted a stable career where he could have financial security but had been out of school for a while and was not sure how he could obtain the necessary education and training to move into a new career. Money was limited and paying for school was not an option.

One of Antonious’ friends spoke with him about Goodwill’s skills training programs and how it helped him with his career. Feeling hopeful, Antonious attended an information session at his local Goodwill Career Center in Oakwood and was given further information on what programs Goodwill offers and how to go about receiving funding to enroll into them. Antonious saw that Goodwill offered skills training for welding, and since he was already familiar with welding, he decided that he would apply. Antonious met with his Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Counselor to express his interest in the Goodwill welding program. His counselor had to check and confirm specific federal and state criteria to ensure that Antonious was eligible and appropriate for funding for the program. Antonious met all qualifications to receive funding from SNAP Works, the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services SNAP Employment and Training program and was immediately enrolled into the welding course.

Antonious worked closely with his Goodwill Case Manager Alex Balla, who was with him every step of the way in training. Antonious praised the Oakwood staff for how helpful and incredibly patient they were with him and his peers, especially as he faced the challenge of attending the Lanier Technical College co-enrollment classes during the program. Antonious did not go to college and had not been in a school atmosphere in a long time but realized that he would have to adapt and adjust to the training curriculum and schedule in order to be successful. The supportive co-enrollment model between Goodwill and the college, along with comprehensive case management assistance made it possible, because Antonious was a fighter and pushed through the course and graduated.

Antonious gained employment four days after graduating from the six-week welding program. He now works at Cottrell Trailers in Gainesville, GA where he builds car haulers. “I am so thankful for Goodwill, as they really helped guide me into a new career,” Antonious says. “Working with Goodwill was a wonderful experience and I recommend this program for anyone looking to take that leap of faith to better their life!” Goodwill is proud of Antonious for the steps he has taken on his own personal ABC journey: A first job, Better Job, and Career.