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Goodwill Mission Stories

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A Roadmap to Independence Through Goodwill’s IPS Program

When Goodwill's Individual Placement and Support (IPS) employment specialist, Julie Loth, began working with Michelle in late January 2021, Michelle was eager to return to working in the food service industry. She also wanted to renew her state approved ServSafe certification, which verifies food safety knowledge that protects the public from foodborne illness.

When her IPS journey began, Michelle was hesitant about computers and online applications, so Julie worked with her to develop her resume and apply to various positions online. She also supported Michelle's employment goals by showing her how to create a profile on Indeed, loading her resume onto her account, providing Zoom and Microsoft Teams online interview training, and guiding Michelle on how to answer work history questions. Michelle was eager to look for positions, so after becoming comfortable, she began applying for jobs independently.

Finding the Right Fit

In March of 2021, Michelle started as a dietary aide at Maple Ridge Health Services. Julie connected Michelle to training at Troop Café to renew her ServSafe license, but unfortunately, a change in her situation put that on pause. Michelle focused on her recovery and was able to return to Maple Ridge in July 2021. Because Michelle was concerned with the distance she needed to travel from her new residence, Julie helped Michelle think through her options and helped her apply for other positions. In November 2021, Michelle started as a cook and breakfast host at the Hampton Inn. Michelle wanted a career, not continuous part-time positions, so Julie told Michelle about Goodwill's partnership with Advocate Aurora and offered to assist Michelle in applying for a job.

Julie discussed Michelle's strengths and helped her find a good fit with the assistance of Advocate Aurora Health recruiter Kim Quetschke. She also helped Michelle navigate her insurance benefits, her pre-employment paperwork, and assisted her in retrieving her vaccination records. Michelle began as a food service assistant at Aurora in March 2022. Once there, she joined the Returning Citizen program for additional support from her supervisor and has helped show newer employees the ropes.

This story is just one example of how the IPS program helps people like Michelle find and keep a job to find their independence again. Julie's one-on-one support gave Michelle the tools she needed to take a positive and hopeful step forward. It also helped her gain the confidence needed to grow at Aurora and further her training with them.

Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440