Eighty-eight Goodwill graduates have been placed into employment in 2019 thanks to you, our Goodwill team and the determination of graduates like Jessica. She finished the Hospitality Training Program in March and achieved a lifelong dream.

From the time I was 8 years old, I always wanted to work at a hotel. I ran track and we stayed at a Marriott in Omaha for one of our meets. Twenty years later, I still remember how nice everyone was and how welcome they made us feel.

I heard about Goodwill’s Hospitality program but pushed it off for almost a year. I doubted myself and had a lot of insecurities. I didn’t think I could do it or that I would fit in.

Change is hard. I realized that if I really want to change my life, I have to take the steps to change my life. And I’m glad I did.

In the orientation interview, one of the Goodwill staff told me: “I feel like you can do this.” To have someone say that when I was doubting myself just made me change the way I was thinking. I told her that I wanted to work in a hotel. I need Goodwill to open the door and I’ll do the rest.

I was working at a grocery store and taking classes. My best friend and I were in the class and we pushed each other. It made it better because I knew that I wouldn’t be in there by myself. It’s hard if you don’t have a support system and Goodwill was that support system for me. I felt that if I needed help, they would truly be in my corner.

The program helped me professionally. It humbled me and changed who I was as a person. Without my instructor, Ms. Janet, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. When she sees something in you, she brings it out.

I applied for a job with Marriott – my interview was a Tuesday and I was hired on Thursday. I work at the Washington Marriott Georgetown as a Guest Service Representative and was recognized as Rookie of the Year. Everything I learned about hospitality from Ms. LaRue in the Goodwill program I use every day, it put me ahead.

I am the first and last person guests see. I want to make their stay special by going above and beyond. My manager, another Goodwill Hospitality graduate, is helping me get on the management track with the goal to train front-desk staff at other properties.

I see a huge difference in my life. It feels unreal to love my job like this. It showed me that no matter where you come from, if you work hard you can get anywhere.