Goodwill helps connect people with jobs through trade-skill programs

Local, state and national companies continue to face challenges hiring new workers, while people are struggling to make ends meet at underpaying jobs.

Goodwill hopes to connect those people with companies who need them.

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The money from sales generated by donations helps adults further their education for free.

Matieyos Ashagre immigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia to live the American Dream.

“I used to be an Uber driver,” said Ahagre who lives in Monroe. “And before that, I used to drive 18-wheelers state-to-state, and I had two kids.”

Ashagre found himself spending less time with his kids and more time with Uber passengers.


A passenger inspired him to test out a new career.

“I was, like, ‘Oh where did you get that? Where you learning?’ He said, ‘Oh, I finished it in a Goodwill.’ I was, like, ‘Oh really? Goodwill has that program?’” he said.

Ashagre mastered new skills within weeks through Goodwill’s basic construction and HVAC programs.

“We’re really a pipeline to the construction industry,” said Marvin Kelley, the director of the Construction and Trade Training Program at the Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. “And that’s one of the things that we’ve kind of hung our hat on, is making sure that we’re providing really talented individuals.”

Kelley helped prepare Ashagre for his role as a maintenance technician.


Kelley said his team works with professional partners to identify and fill gaps in the construction industry.

“We do a lot of hands-on training that leads to certifications,” Kelley said. “And really, with our coaching and our employability, we’re really preparing folks for an opportunity and industry.”

They’ve seen an increase of students while Ashagre said he has seen an increase in his salary.

“Yes, I would say it doubled and benefits,” Ashagre said about the wages.

Ashagre said he can now spend less time at work and more time with his family.

He’s confident others can be the next successful Goodwill graduate.

“You have to have a passion. That’s, that’s the main goal,” Ashagre said.

Goodwill also has programs for other industries, including IT, entrepreneurship and other trade skills.

Click here for more information.

(Watch below: Woman finds ancient Roman bust at Goodwill store)