29 Aug I Change Lives: Trent R. Craig
A Q&A with an employee who is making a difference through the mission of Goodwill
Trent is the office administrator at Goodwill’s Mill Creek store at 6708 Nolensville Pike in Brentwood, Tenn. He is responsible for overseeing all administrative duties at the store, including opening the store, maintaining the employee schedule and helping with the new hire process and employee orientation.
There’s much more to Trent than meets the eye. At 54, he lives with his wife Anna in Murfreesboro, Tenn., with a cat they rescued and named Axle because of the axle grease she was covered in when they found her. He enjoys throwing darts with a couple of local competitive leagues and is a huge baseball fan. He has a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a paralegal certificate from Boston University. When the company where he worked for 21 years folded in 2011, he thought his education as a paralegal would help him quickly find a job in that field. Instead, he found his age to be a hindrance. But, he refused to give up his search for a job. That’s what really sets Trent apart — his mental and physical perseverance — which, according to his supervisor, Brentwood Goodwill store Manager Angeline Bivens, has been the main cause for his success.
What brought you to Goodwill? When the place where I was employed for 21 years folded in 2011, I was out of work for 25 months. During that time, I volunteered at several nonprofits and was a client at the state’s career center in Murfreesboro. One day, I volunteered to help at a Goodwill job fair, and I became a client of the Career Solutions center in Murfreesboro. In September 2013, there was a job fair to fill open Goodwill positions. My counselor, Shannon Guy, thought I would be great as an office administrator for a store. I interviewed for the position that day and was quickly hired.
What are some of the challenges you face? Before my position with Goodwill, I was challenged finding a job due to my age. Also, I am a two-time cancer survivor, and I still experience some issues with my health. At my old job I worked in a warehouse, but Goodwill gave me the opportunity to transition into an office setting. I was finally able to use my education and qualifications. Goodwill gave me a chance when other employers wouldn’t.
What has surprised you most in your time with Goodwill? The way everyone at our store truly embraces the fact that we are one team with one mission. I have not worked in a situation like that before. I was also impressed by how our mission of changing lives through education, training and employment is so integral to everything we do as a company. Our programs give people the chance to develop key skills — like basic computing, job readiness and resume writing — even if they don’t plan to apply for a job with Goodwill. I want to work for an organization that I feel has a positive impact on the community, and I get to be a part of that at Goodwill.
What do you enjoy most about your job? The trust my boss has in me to just do my job. She knows once she tells me to get something done, she can consider it done without constantly checking on me. I like that she and the other managers make me feel like an important player in our store. It’s empowering.
How do you change lives? By helping out our new hires with their online training, I make them feel more at ease in front of a computer and help them not be intimidated by it. Some of our employees have just moved here with no real family or friends. Others are just getting their first job, or maybe getting back into the workforce after being out for a time. Regardless of their situation, I try to make them feel comfortable and at ease. And, I find ways to change lives outside of Goodwill. For example, I still volunteer at legal clinics that help those who cannot afford an attorney for any civil action of which they may be a part.