Goodwill helps woman make strides in self-sufficiency journey

Cassidy hasn’t been at her new job at JC Penney very long, but she’s already loving it.

“I love it. I love that I get to see new clothing every day, fold some clothes, put away some clothes, and meeting new people,” Cassidy said. “And, hello, money!”

Goodwill has been partnering with Cassidy, 21, on her journey to self-sufficiency since fall 2019. She came to Goodwill at the suggestion of a case worker at Job and Family Services and began with a job coach doing a community-based skills assessment at JC Penney.

Unfortunately, like so many others, Cassidy’s plans were paused when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020. Although the pandemic isn’t over, Cassidy was ready to move forward with her dreams and came back to Goodwill in June. She was matched with Employment Specialist Kourtnie Hildreth who began working with her to sharpen her interview and social skills to boost her confidence.

“Cassidy is an incredibly intelligent young lady. She’s one of those people who, when you meet them, you’re instantly attracted to their personality,” Kourtnie said.

While Cassidy originally had been interested in working at a daycare, she fell in love with retail after her skills assessment at JC Penney, Kourtnie said. Naturally, JC Penney was one of the first places they applied when Cassidy came back to Goodwill. When Kourtnie called to follow up, she discovered the general manager remembered Cassidy.

“He said, ‘Absolutely. We’d love to have her,’” Kourtnie said.

It’s rare to have an assessment lead to a job offer from the partner business, which is a testament to Cassidy and her work performance, Kourtnie said.

“It was really encouraging that he remembered her, especially all this time later,” Kourtnie added.

Kourtnie not only assisted Cassidy with finding a job, but she’s also helping her prepare for her driver’s permit test. Being able to drive is especially important for Cassidy who commutes from Richmond Dale in rural southeastern Ross County into Chillicothe for work and other things.

Cassidy said Kourtnie has been “really good” to work with and she’d recommend Goodwill to others needing assistance finding a job or getting their driver’s permit.

“They really helped me, so I think they can help others,” she said.

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