Ashley Parker will be the first to admit that Goodwill has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. She has fond memories of her and her brother playing board games in the stores as her single mother shopped for school clothing. In the mid-1990s, her mother graduated from Goodwill Houston’s hospitality program as part of training for a new career. This program was a predecessor to the many career pathways programs that Goodwill Houston offers today and gave Ashley’s mom the skills to find not just a job, but a career in hotel and restaurant management. Ashley’s mother says, “The things I learned at Goodwill I have carried with me for all of my life, and no one can take that away from me.”
Nearly twenty-five years later, Ashley was shopping at Goodwill Houston’s Tomball Store for a Halloween costume for her daughter when she learned that Goodwill had an opening for an assistant manager. She had been laid-off from another company due to COVID-19 and quickly applied for the job. In her interview, she impressed her manager so much that she was hired the next day.
Earlier this year, Ashley completed Goodwill Houston’s Retail Operations Specialist Apprenticeship program. This one-year program equips Goodwill Houston Assistant Managers with the knowledge, skills, and ability to elevate performance – with the goal of preparing them to manage a store of their own. In May, Ashley graduated from the program and proudly became the second Goodwill graduate in the family.