2019 Goodwill Community Employee of the Year: Laura Young

For years, Laura struggled. Throughout high school she was enrolled in special education classes, and was able to graduate, but still had difficulty getting and keeping a job.

When Laura moved with a family member to Wichita in 2016, she was hopeful for a fresh start. She found a job at a grocery store, but was struggling to keep up. One of her colleagues had a job coach, and told Laura about Goodwill’s Community Employment Program. Laura contacted vocational rehab and qualified for services based on her learning disability. Laura chose Goodwill, where she would get individualized case management, personal support and advocacy.

That’s where she met her job coach, Andrea. With Andrea’s guidance, Laura worked hard refining her resume and determining what role best suited her skill set. In February 2019, she began an on-the-job assessment with Holiday Inn Express to see if she had the skills for the position of full-time housekeeper. Andrea checked in often and offered support when it was needed. Laura excelled. She was such a hard worker, had excellent attendance, (even picking up extra shifts), kept a positive attitude and did an incredible job with housekeeping – so she was offered a permanent position.

Things were going well until she found out the person she trusted with her finances was stealing her money and not paying the bills. She lost everything, including her car and the only support system she knew – and become homeless. Still, she learned how to navigate the bus system and continued working every day with a smile on her face. Even though there are still ups and downs, she now has her own place again and is learning how to budget and pay bills.