Born in El Paso, Texas, John was one of four children born to a working mother. As a teen, he got into trouble very quickly, spending time in a juvenile detention center and forming gangs at just 13-years old. By the age of 16, John started using and selling drugs and went to county jail on burglary charges where he spent three months incarcerated. By the time he turned 30, he had gone to prison for murder.
John got out on parole in 1977, and while in prison, he met the love of his life. He and his wife got married in 1979, had three beautiful children, and according to John, “things have been changing for the better ever since.” John worked in several different fields from warehousing and receiving to commercial maintenance and decided to retire early at the age of 62 after working for 13 years as a maintenance supervisor in Colorado Springs.
After spending 12 years in retirement, John needed to return to the job market where he quickly found that he was facing many challenges. For some positions, he was eliminated for his criminal background and for others he faced age discrimination. In addition, John dealt with negative self-talk about what the interviewer might be thinking: “You’re too old for this job” or “We only hire people with less than seven years of experience.”
After an exhaustive search for another career, John was referred to the Goodwill Rehire program, where he was placed at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Every day proved to be a challenge between working in different areas of the store and having difficulty creating connections with his co-workers due to the age difference. After getting up to speed and learning the ins and outs of the store, John was placed in another area that allowed him to work on his customer service. It was there that he learned how to be professional and realized how good he was with people.
After working for 30 weeks at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, he was offered a regular, full-time position, where he has been working since the beginning of May. “After many opportunities, the Rehire program found me a place to prove myself,” said John. “It feels great to be working again after all these years. The crew and I are all good friends now.”
Administered through Goodwill’s Career Development Services program, ReHire Colorado is an 11-week, transitional employment program helping individuals with barriers to employment re-enter the workforce. Eligible participants benefit from paid, on-the-job training in a supportive work environment, and develop marketable job skills to launch or advance their careers. Learn more about ReHire on our website here.