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Clarksville Woman Launches Rewarding IT Career with Help from Goodwill

If someone had told Clarksville resident Angel Lawler Winn a few years ago that she’d soon be doubling her salary in a new career, she would have laughed out loud. But that is what happened.

Angel dropped out of school at 16 to be the primary caregiver for a loved one who was ill with cancer. She eventually earned her GED and took some classes at community college, but she still felt stuck in low-paying caregiver and restaurant service positions.

Ultimately, Angel was inspired to make a change when her spouse pivoted from a food service job into the Information Technology industry after receiving free training through a program offered by Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. That leap led to a job that provided higher pay, good health benefits and a promising career path. Angel wanted the same for herself. 

In spite of feeling intimidated because she lacked formal computer training, she contacted Goodwill and applied for a scholarship in the Google IT Support Professional Certificate training program. The self-paced program is conducted mostly online, making it possible for her to take courses online around her full-time job.

During this time, Angel also took advantage of other services offered by Goodwill, including job prep classes, resume assistance and help with developing a strong LinkedIn page. She earned her Google IT Support Professional certificate in 2021, and by January of 2022 Angel had landed a job in the IT field. 

“One thing I have learned is how open and welcoming the IT world is to self-taught learners and non-traditional students,” she said. “I think that makes it a really great option for people who have passion and dedication but not necessarily the resources to go through college or even community college before they increase their earnings.”

The more than 50% pay increase Angel received from her new job, together with her spouse’s financial boost, has made it possible for the pair to feel more secure, and they were able to rapidly pay down their mortgage. They recently sold their home in Clarksville at a nice profit and plan to use the funds to move to Colorado where they will attend a software coding school to further their careers.

“The training we received through Goodwill opened so many doors,” she said. “We no longer have to worry about having health insurance or enough money to cover bills and groceries. Having that worry removed has been life-changing.”
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