When Rayhana Stewart came to Goodwill of North Georgia for help finding a job, she was ready to retake control of her life situation. She was a military veteran and hadn’t quite figured out how to transition back into life after her service was complete.
“Several years ago I was in a shelter in Texas,” she says. “I had a brother in Georgia, so I relocated to stay with him.” After her move, Stewart attended a Veteran’s Roundtable at Goodwill’s South DeKalb career center, after which she decided to enroll in in the organization’s Highway Construction program. She already had her Class A license, but still needed to pass a Passenger Endorsement Exam in order to be a bus operator. While enrolled in the program, she hoped to get additional experience to help get her foot in the door for a career in transportation.
Stewart enjoyed her training, particularly the coursework related to electrical work. “The program did teach me several things that were useful and helpful as life skills,” she says. Following her graduation from the program, Stewart got a part-time job as a professional bus operator for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). “She made it,” smiles Gwen Marshall, Goodwill job coach for Stewart. “She had a lot going on but she made it through. I am so happy for her.”
With a bus route she enjoys and the flexibility to spend her time giving back to a local homeless shelter and her church, Stewart is pleased with her new job. In fact, she is so grateful for the support she received in the program she is now referring others to Goodwill’s career services. “I feel there’s a need to reach out to people and support them,” says Stewart. She is happy to be working and even happier for the chance to pay it forward. For more on Rayhana’s story, visit https://youtu.be/Yz46agcijpg