Success Stories

Working at a Goodwill store is Tammy’s dream job

A few months ago, Tammy Parker made her dream come true and now works at the Mill Creek store in South Portland, Maine. Tammy doesn’t have a car, so she walks across the Casco Bay bridge to work every day. She loves her job so much, and says all of her coworkers are nice, helping each other get their work done. 

Tammy originally found a hiring ad on Facebook, and applied to one of Goodwill’s 18 group homes for adults with disabilities as a direct support professional. They loved Tammy, but she didn’t have the qualifications for the position. So they connected her with Kate Smith, a Career Advisor in Goodwill’s workforce programs. Kate placed Tammy in a paid work experience with the South Portland store. This experience showed Tammy how the job works, and gave the store a chance to “try out” Tammy as an employee. Tammy got to see what it’s like to clock in and out, work a shift, and be alongside coworkers, all while earning a paycheck. The experience went so well that the store officially hired Tammy, where she now pulls unsold items off the sales floor, works the register, and helps wherever she’s needed. 

“Kate is a remarkable human,” Tammy said. Tammy often walks three or more miles — including over an ocean bridge — to work. This past winter, Kate helped Tammy learn the Portland bus system and get a bus pass so she wouldn’t have to walk to work in the snow. 

Most of Tammy’s job is pulling items with specific-colored tags off the shelves after they have been in the store for six weeks. The old items are then added to an “aftermarket” bin in the back, and sent to the Buy The Pound outlet. The toy section is her favorite part of the store to pull and organize. Fortunately for Tammy, this section is the messiest and always needs to be organized since kids love to come in and play with all the toys. Tammy can often be found dancing along with a big smile while she’s in the toy section.

Tammy is an advocate for adults with disabilities. She likes to use the word “capabilities” instead, and says everyone deserves to work and get a great job if they want one. 

Tammy loves her job, and her coworkers.

“Everyone is so nice, and it’s really a great time working with them,” she said.

Goodwill employee, Tammy, stands smiling behind the register of the Goodwill Mill Creek South Portland store.
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