Dedicated Goodwill® Team Member Gets A Second Chance Following Incarceration

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Michael Blanton was living in a homeless shelter following his release from incarceration…

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Michael Blanton was living in a homeless shelter following his release from incarceration in October 2019 when he learned about the Goodwill Re-Integration Program (GRIP) in Baton Rouge, LA, operated by Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana (New Orleans, LA). Since gaining employment with the Goodwill twenty months ago, Blanton earned multiple promotions and is now working as a store manager. Goodwill Industries International is proud to honor Blanton as its 2021 Achiever of the Year.

When he first walked into the Goodwill Employment and Training Center, Blanton was hoping to receive transportation assistance and financial help to pay for a photo ID. He received bus passes to use during his job search and financial assistance to obtain his photo ID as well as résumé writing assistance. A Goodwill case manager also helped him develop an individualized career plan and set short- and long-term goals.

Blanton sent out 100 résumés, yet received no job offers. Two weeks later, a Goodwill employment specialist encouraged him to apply for an entry-level position at a local Goodwill store. He interviewed and was hired in November 2019. He quickly established himself as a reliable worker and developed a positive rapport with everyone he met. He earned a promotion just three months after his initial hire. He then gained another promotion to assistant store manager in May 2020.

The Goodwill store he managed had briefly closed when the pandemic hit, and when it reopened under strict safety protocols, Blanton was integral to its success and ensured donations were processed in a safe and timely manner. He helped his colleagues navigate the many operational changes to ensure the safety of all employees and guests to the store.  

In January 2021, just 14 months after his initial hire, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana promoted Blanton to store manager of its Denham Springs, LA, location.

«Michael’s strong work ethic, leadership skills and positivity have helped keep his team motivated, as we all have had to navigate work during the pandemic,» said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. «He is dedicated to ensuring others are provided the same opportunities as he has received through Goodwill.»

Blanton has reached other personal goals as well, including purchasing a vehicle and finding an apartment near the Goodwill store.

«I am grateful to Goodwill for taking a chance with me,» he said. «They hired someone with a less than stellar past and have given me a bright future.»

About the Award: Goodwill Industries International’s Achiever of the Year is a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming challenges to finding employment, and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.


Goodwill Industries International is a network of 156 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 12 other countries. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps people find employment, Goodwill is recognized with GuideStar’s highest rating, the Platinum Seal of Approval.

Local Goodwill organizations offer employment opportunities, job placement and training services, and other community-based programs, funded by selling donated clothing and household items in nearly 3,300 stores and at®. Last year, more than 20 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill services, and more than one million people received in-person services.

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl.

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SOURCE Goodwill Industries International