Kenny Wojtusiak is busy packaging sponges at Goodwill of western New York. “I enjoy coming here every day,” he said.
It's a job he doesn't take for granted. “It was hard trying to find a job.” After all, he was unemployed until about six months ago. “I was kind of struggling in life with a job. I'm a single father raising three kids,” he explained.
That's why he turned to Goodwill, and began taking soft skills training. “These are the types of skills you need no matter what your job is,” Juliana Janson. Janson is the Workforce Development Vice President for the nonprofit. She said soft skills are survival skills in the work place of today. “A lot of things we know. But everyone can use a reminder from time to time.”
We visited a class recently where job seekers were busy learning things like interview etiquette, and how to conduct themselves at work. “Some of them have disabilities. Some of them are on public assistance. Some of them have just found themselves in a difficult situation,” Janson explained.
In Wojtusiak’s case, he had been on public assistance. “My goal is to make sure my kids are sustained and set.” Today, he's a lead supervisor for Goodwill. Kenny isn't alone. Many who go through soft skills training gain employment, and they're celebrated at Goodwill. Their picture is put on the wall along with where they landed a job. “We feel passionately that the way people can improve their lives is through employment and, in particular, fulfilling employment,” Janson said.
Wojtusiak is a product of that philosophy. He credits landing his job to the skills he learned through Goodwill. “They give you the tools to succeed,” Wojtusiak said.
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