Goodwill Program:   Freedom Drive Job Connection

“Goodwill is the place where I got my life started again.”

Wayne knew past mistakes were stopping him from getting the job he really wanted.

As an ex-offender, Wayne was used to getting rejected. With help from Goodwill and the OMITT Trade School, Wayne now works in the heating and air conditioning industry, supervising three crews who repair Habitat for Humanity homes in the Charlotte area.

“I’m proud of myself,” the 47-year-old father of two says.

Having moved to Charlotte 13 years ago from New Jersey, Wayne found himself working in a warehouse, but his career came to a halt when he was sent to prison. He served 12 months for domestic violence.

Wayne spent his time in prison trying to figure out what he “really wanted” to do with his life.  He learned of a program through Goodwill that would help transition him back into the workforce.

Once he was released from prison, Wayne visited Goodwill’s Freedom Drive Job Connection.  This is where Wayne says his “life changed 100 percent for the better.”

Wayne knew he had to be disciplined to successfully re-enter society.

“You don’t just walk in and get a job. You have to do some leg work and show people you are serious,” Wayne says.

While at the Job Connection, Wayne enrolled in Goodwill’s Second Chance Job Readiness workshop, which works with ex-offenders on how to dress and how to speak about their criminal backgrounds to employers. It also includes resume development, networking and interview skills.

Wayne credits instructor Charles Reid for “getting the ball rolling” again and being the motivation he needed to better himself. Part of his transformation involved changing his view on life into a positive one, even in negative situations.

With help from the Job Connection, Wayne enrolled in the OMITT Trade School, where he received eight months of hands-on HVAC training.

After excelling, Wayne’s dream of returning to the workforce became a reality when OMITT hired him to handle the Habitat for Humanity contract.

“Goodwill believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” Wayne says. “Goodwill saved my life.”

Without Goodwill and its programs, Wayne believes he would be “discouraged” and possibly in trouble with the law again.

Wayne is “passionate” about his job and hopes to one day own a HVAC business with one of his sons.

“I’ve gone full circle with Goodwill,” Wayne adds. “People who find themselves in a similar situation need to use the resources that are available to them.

“Goodwill is the place where I got my life started again.”


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