Lanier College Career Academy student Tori Duckworth first came to Goodwill’s Oakwood Career Center in May 2020 as a GVRA referral. The high school student was interested in getting some exposure to the workplace and Case Manager Alex Balla had a long-standing relationship working with students from her school.

Under Alex’s supervision, Tori completed work evaluation and then Community Work Adjustment Training (CWAT) in June 2020. At that time, she was not yet ready to go to work, especially since she desired to work with animals, which would require more experience. She decided to focus on her schoolwork for the coming year.

Tori returned to Goodwill in June 2021 and she and Alex created a new plan to ensure her success. She began with job readiness training (JRT) and repeated the CWAT training at a job site — Gypsy Paws in Gainesville. This was perfect opportunity for her to realize her dream of working with animals.

The team at Gypsy Paws really liked Tori and appreciated her excellent soft skills. By the end of July, they offered her a permanent position in their business. Tori readily accepted and has recently celebrated five months of job retention.

Tori’s manager appreciates the motivation and passion Tori brings to work. Tori shares that she loves her job, especially learning things about dogs that she never knew before. She looks forward to continuing her career journey at Gypsy Paws.