Daniel Simpson

Norcross resident Daniel Simpson visited Goodwill’s Pleasant Hill Career Center in early July 2020. He was interested in enrolling in the Forklift training program because he had warehouse experience and wanted to find another opportunity in the industry. Since the next class wouldn’t begin until October, Program Assistant Anita Scott scheduled an appointment for Daniel to craft a plan to prepare him for success. 

When Daniel met with Case Manager Toni Kareem, he shared that he needed a patient employer willing to hire a candidate with barriers. It can take him time to get comfortable with new situations and processes due to Asperger’s Syndrome. He prefers a work environment with minimal distractions, which allows him to stay focused on completing his assigned tasks. 

At 21 years old, Daniel wanted to help support his family and ultimately become financially independent. He revealed that he was currently living in a hotel room, along with his mother, sister, and nephews. The family was eager to find a more stable housing situation, and Toni quickly provided a list of resources.  

In talking with Daniel’s mother, Toni determined that transportation issues would prevent Daniel’s participation in the Forklift program at the time. Undeterred, Daniel decided to enroll in Goodwill’s Retail Customer Service training program. 

As he began the program, Daniel distinguished himself by being punctual, following directions, staying on task, and interacting well with his coworkers. Within a month, he observed that “I used to sort four bins of clothing a day and now I’m sorting six bins, which makes me happy. I’m doing great.” Daniel thrived at Goodwill, growing to trust the team, and grateful for the appreciation shown to him for the excellent work he was doing. 

Daniel actively participated in Job Readiness Training classes, although his voice could be hard to hear when he answered questions. Having learned how to advocate for himself, Daniel inquired about accommodations during interviews. Over time, Daniel and the Goodwill team worked to build his self-confidence and overcome his shyness. 

By the end of October, Daniel was ready for permanent employment. In mid-November, he and Nakya visited Himalayan Candles to discuss the possibility of him completing his internship there. Himalayan Candles, a Goodwill employer partner, invited Daniel to join their team for a one-month internship.  

Daniel was enthusiastic about this placement and brought his can-do spirit and work ethic to his new assignment. When Toni called the company to check on Daniel’s progress, the site supervisor shared a glowing report. 

In mid-December, Employment Specialist Nakya Marshall visited Himalayan Candles and spent some time with Daniel, who shared that he liked the job and his coworkers and had partnered with a Spanish-speaking colleague who was teaching him Spanish while he taught her English. Daniel hoped the internship would end with an offer to join the company permanently. Before she departed, Nakya spoke with the manager, who indicated they would be extending an offer. 

As 2021 began Daniel began full-time employment with Himalayan Candles. A production processor, he is earning $9 per hour and is excited about his future with the company. At this time, he has postponed his plans to enroll in Forklift training to continue building a career in his new industry. 

Goodwill was a family affair. Daniel’s sister, Elisha Harris, joined him for the Retail Customer Service program. She had experience working with Dunkin’ Donuts and hopes to own a franchise one day. The training she received allowed her to explore other career options, including administrative office work. Ultimately, Elisha decided to remain with Dunkin’ Donuts and is currently an assistant manager. 

In mid-March 2021, the family was approved for housing and is in the process of selecting their new residence. Goodwill has been honored to play a part on this family’s pathway to prosperity.