Goodwill Industries of KY helps people get back into workforce through RISE program

WYMT Weekend Edition News at 11 p.m.
Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 7:42 PM EDT
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BARBOURVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Finding and securing job opportunities can be difficult for those with employment barriers such as substance abuse, criminal histories or limited education.

However, thanks to the Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, Kentuckians with employment barriers now have more job opportunities through their Reintegrating Individuals Successfully Every Day program also known as RISE.

One person who was impacted by the program is Williamsburg native Samantha Walden.

Walden is currently an employee at the Goodwill retail store in Barbourville, but her connection to Goodwill first began when she worked as a reporter where she covered an event for Goodwill’s RISE program.

“Come to find out, a couple days after I covered it, I got laid off,” said Walden.

Needing to find a way to continue supporting her and her daughter, Walden decided to enroll in the program herself.

“I found out its for people that are, sure there are people that are in addiction, and they are justice involved, but what drew to me is that I have a lack of education. I did not finish college,” she said.

Through the program, Walden took part in a two-week training to gain numerous skills to help her reintegrate into the workforce.

“I had also been through domestic violence, I’m a domestic violence survivor, so that was also addressed,” Walden added. “I had people who were employed as career coaches and my manager that have been through that, so I had that kind of community to help me through.”

Walden was able to graduate from the program on Friday and was hired on as a cashier at the Barbourville Goodwill.

“She has done amazing through that program and she has just got the best people personality and she is gonna go a long way,” said Charlotte Caton, Goodwill store manager at the Barbourville location. “I know I’m not looking to keep her. She’s got big hopes and dreams and I hope I can be just a small part in helping her get to those.”

Walden is now leaning on even more than her newfound skill set.

“Being a single mom who has a two year old, and you need people to be around to help you through, and I feel like that’s amazing that they’re there for me, but I have life skills through the team building and attitude and stress management, I can carry that on for the rest of my life and help other people,” said Walden.

Walden said she hopes to return to school in the future to eventually work in journalism again.

To find out more information about the RISE program, you can visit the Goodwill Industries of Kentucky website.