#MissionMonday - Jillian

Every Monday, we'll be posting a new story of how our mission has assisted people in the community. Be sure to check back each week for a new and inspirational story of someone who was helped by Goodwill Manasota. Changing lives through the power of work...it's what we do.

Jillian is a soft-spoken woman who believes in working hard and treating people with respect. Her experiences working with people suffering from dementia and other disabilities made her compassionate and thankful for her good health. Jillian worked in assisted living facilities in Georgia for many years, but she was growing frustrated with how increasing operational cuts had diminished the level of care facilities could provide to their patients.


She decided to quit her job in the healthcare industry and look for work in another field. A few months later, Jillian got a job as an Accessories Pricer at Goodwill of North Georgia. Jillian loved her new career and the people she worked with. She worked there for two and a half years until, one day, her two sisters called, asking for her help. Her sisters had been taking care of their 86-year-old mother and they desperately needed Jillian’s assistance. Jillian agreed to help, quitting her job, and moving to Florida.


She arrived in Bradenton in mid-March. Jillian had planned to find another job once she got to Florida but her timing did not work out. The pandemic derailed her career search plans when the Governor issued a stay-at-home order and businesses across the state closed. Very few employers were hiring.


Jillian was happy to be closer to her mom and help her family but she was worried that her sister was not going to let her stay there for much longer without contributing to the household budget. Her sister had started to make comments about the increased food costs and was pressuring Jillian to find a job. Jillian could have applied for a position at a grocery store but she really wanted to work for Goodwill again. She was patiently waiting for the stores in Manatee County to reopen.


When Jillian heard that retail stores were reopening at 25% capacity, she paid a visit to the Job Connection office at Goodwill’s Corporate Campus in Bradenton. The team gave her the phone number for Goodwill Manasota’s virtual Job Connection services. She called the number and spoke with Antonia, who talked to her about her job search and gathered information about Jillian’s employment history.


Antonia informed Jillian that Goodwill Manasota was not currently hiring – they were focusing on returning furloughed team members. Antonia provided Jillian with several job leads and asked her about her computer skills. Antonia helped Jillian set up her Indeed.com profile and resume, and taught her how to download the app so she could use her phone to conduct her job search since she did not have access to a computer. The amount of assistance she was able to get over the telephone surprised Jillian.  She followed all of Antonia’s instructions and applied for several other retail positions but she was praying that she would get a call from Goodwill first.


 A few weeks later, Antonia called Jillian with good news. Goodwill was now hiring and she thought that Jillian had a good chance of getting called for an interview. Within just a few days, Jillian interviewed and got a job at the Goodwill location closest to her home. She is excited to be back in the Goodwill family.


Jillian is thankful that she is financially independent once again and is looking forward to working with her new team. She told Antonia that she loves working for an employer that provides paid time off, a consistent 40-hour workweek, and even an employee store discount. She loves the company’s culture and she feels like things are finally falling into place for her. Jillian can now help take care of her mother while maintaining her independence. She is glad that Goodwill is still serving the community AND still hiring – pandemic or not! It’s what we do …