Riverdale resident Rishard Graham is no stranger to Goodwill. In 2019, he used the Career Center services in his job search and landed a position at the Marriott hotel on Century Boulevard. When the pandemic hit, Rishard was furloughed, so he returned to Goodwill’s Stockbridge Career Center for help. With his extensive experience in warehouse and construction, he was confident he’d find a new opportunity soon.

Rishard expressed interest in the Forklift program with the idea that this credential would make him more marketable. Thanks to a generous CDBG grant, he enrolled in early June 2020. In addition to earning his certificate, Rishard shared that he wanted to improve his interviewing skills. Originally from Washington, DC, Rishard was experiencing some challenges with cultural differences in communication styles.

Rishard was an active participant during the training sessions, readily offering real-life examples for the topics being discussed and sharing job search tips with his peers. He shared that the classes helped him to realize some previous situations that could have been handled better. Rishard planned to use this newfound knowledge in achieving his goal to “work, rank, and retire.” When he progressed to on-the-job training, Rishard also demonstrated an exceptional work ethic and received high praise from the instructors. He graduated from the program on July 6th.

Working with Employment Specialist Tammy Thomas, Rishard revised his resume and began his search for a position that would marry his previous experience with his newly acquired Forklift certification. It didn’t take long before he was offered a position at McLane in Forest Park, at an hourly wage of $17. Shortly after he joined the company on July 24th, Rishard informed Tammy that McLane was interested in becoming a Goodwill training site.

Rishard also benefitted from the Lyft grant, as transportation issues arose. He was grateful for this support, which allowed him to continue his training and and get to his new job.

In mid-April, Rishard celebrated 270 days’ retention with McLane. He continues to stay in touch with Tammy, sharing information about openings at McLane to help other jobseekers. In recognition of his exceptional performance and his continuing commitment to Goodwill, we are pleased to present Rishard with the 2021 Metro Outstanding Graduate Award.