Gainesville resident Cassy Summers came to Goodwill’s Oakwood Career Center in early February 2021. During her intake interview, she expressed a desire to work in traditionally male-dominated fields such as welding. One reason welding was of interest to her was that she knew the long-term career opportunities would allow her to provide for her son. At 30-years-old and a recovering drug addict, it was time for a fresh start.
Case Manager Alex Balla guided Cassy through the MRD process and with funding provided by SNAP E&T, she began the welding course on February 15th. When classes began, Cassy distinguished herself by remaining attentive and providing input during class discussions. Her contributions were a welcome addition to the dialogue. Cassy also scored well on the Northstar Digital Literacy assessments, and by the last week in February, she completed OSHA10 training and received her certification.
Cassy performed well during the hands-on welding training, and the instructor noted she was among the best in the class. She pressed on even when she sustained minor injuries due to a spark getting under her helmet. Cassy also overcame personal obstacles including a mandatory daily appearance at drug court before reporting to Goodwill, and challenges with the residential home in which she was living. In the midst of the demands of her training program, Cassy was seeking an appropriate living arrangement, as she would be leaving the residential home within two months.
On March 5th, Cassy easily passed the welding certification exam and was so excited about the report she received from Alex that she asked to have a copy to keep as proof that she did a great job. Alex truly enjoyed working with Cassy, sharing that her “smile and ambition are contagious.”
Cassy interviewed with Gainesville’s Cottrell and began a position as a welder on March 17th at an hourly wage of $17. Cassy has enjoyed her first weeks on the job and is thrilled for the opportunity to follow her dreams. She is confident that this position will assist her as she strives to achiever her long-term goal of owning her own car shop or welding business.
Goodwill is delighted to have played a part in Cassy’s success. She was the first female to complete the welding program at Oakwood – and she has set a very high bar for those who follow!