In March 2021, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Watkins was looking for a change. The Stockbridge resident’s job search had been challenging due to some past criminal activity. At the time, Justin was on probation and interested in pursuing a career in a field that would be welcoming to him and would additionally provide growth opportunities. He came to Goodwill’s Career Center in Stockbridge and met with staff who discussed the logistics program with the forklift track as an option that would satisfy his needs. With the help of C3 Navigator Sheretta Sanders, Justin learned more about the industry he’d be training for.

Thanks to support from SNAP E&T and the Lowe’s grant, Justin enrolled in the logistics program and immediately distinguished himself by his active participation and enthusiasm for the material. The instructor reported that Justin did an excellent job following directions and handling the machinery, adhering to all safety protocols and using the appropriate PPE as needed.

At several points during the program, Justin needed support services to assist with transportation. Again, the generous support of SNAP E&T and Lowe’s enabled Justin to receive gas cards. As the course progressed, Justin was doing so well that the instructor had a potential job waiting for him upon completion. Although Justin faltered a bit during his internship at Goodwill’s e-commerce warehouse, with coaching from Case Manager Monica Whitson, he graduated in late May.

Justin then began his job search–communicating regularly with various Goodwill team members, following up on job leads, completing applications, and participating in interviews. By late July, he had a part-time offer, but wanted to keep his options open and continued to pursue a full-time opportunity.

With the help of Employment Resource Manager Lisa Brown and Employment Specialist Stephanie Hendricks, a September 9th interview was set up at 1-800-FLOWERS. Justin was hired right away and began his new job on September 13th at a wage of $19 per hour. As he celebrates his 30-day retention, he reports that he is very happy and looks forward to working for the company for a long time. Reflecting on his journey, he shares, “I just had to keep going and stay positive and focused.”