Gary Ford came to Goodwill’s Smyrna Career Center in July 2021, interested in the welding program. At the time, Gary was working at Chick-fil-A, but at 28 years old, he was ready to embark on a career path and he knew that welding jobs featured good wages and opportunities for advancement. With the help of Case Manager Melissa Stockard, Gary was able to secure SNAP E&T funding to cover the costs associated with the training program.

Shortly after enrollment in the welding program, Gary left Chick-fil-A because the restaurant was not able to accommodate his training schedule. Throughout training, Gary had frequent issues with transportation and required gas cards, which were also made possible by the support provided by SNAP E&T. He completed the program in early August and secured a job with Unistructures as a fabrication welder at a wage of $17 per hour. On his second day of work, his car broke down in the parking lot. Gary reached out to Melissa, who provided Lyft vouchers.

Gary shares that these vouchers were critical to his being able to get to work, especially since his workplace is one hour from his home. The vouchers enabled him to locate a mechanic and get the car fixed. Now on the job for almost two months, his financial situation is stabilizing and he looks forward to his new career and the next steps on his journey. Gary is grateful to Goodwill and to the various funders whose support was essential to his success. “I could not have made a better choice than to enroll in the welding program,” Gary enthused. “When you step out on faith, you don’t have to look back when so many things are looking good in front of you. Thank you, Goodwill!”