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Memphis Native Overcomes Struggle Of Employment After Incarceration With Goodwill’s Help

When Jason Ayers entered Goodwill’s Construction & Weatherization Training Program in September of 2023, he felt “underqualified and unprepared” to pursue a career in construction.

He lacked a driver’s license, he needed a job and he didn’t have much hope for his future. Regardless of where he applied, he received the same response: Employers refused to hire him because of his history of incarceration.

Jason’s wife learned about Goodwill’s Construction & Weatherization Training Program at a job fair. She enthusiastically shared the program with Jason, knowing he had construction experience but lacked the knowledge and tools to enter the trade. He promptly applied, effortlessly passing the entrance abilities test. Excited about the prospect of a career to support his family, he appreciated the opportunity.

Participants in the program  attend classes four days per week for four weeks at Goodwill’s facility at 7237 Cockrill Bend Boulevard in West Nashville. Three hours of each day are spent in the classroom, and three are spent in the workshop. The course covers safety, construction math, hand and power tools, blueprints, rigging, weatherization, communication, forklift operation, employability skills and more. Graduates receive certification from the National Center for Construction, Education and Research (NCCER) and an OSHA 10 safety certification.

Students also learn a variety of employability skills, such as creating a resume, as well as life skills from instructors.

Goodwill and the staff of the Construction program helped me understand that success is about skills and their development. I am in control of my future, Jason says.

After graduating from the Construction program, Jason received an invitation to attend the two-week Introduction to Welding and Metal Fabrication class, an honor extended to only five participants from each Construction Class. Completing the Welding Class added another skill to his toolbox.

Despite facing a challenge in job hunting during the holiday season, Jason — now equipped with a driver’s license — resorted to working for Door Dash to make ends meet. Eventually, he secured a construction job with the Nashville Department of Transportation, working on roads and filling potholes with hot asphalt. His excitement mirrors the anticipation of those driving on highways in and around Nashville.

Coming from a criminal background, I found the Goodwill Construction & Weatherization Training program to be an excellent stepping stone, Jason says. I was surrounded by people who truly believe in second chances and helping people like me navigate the rough path to success.

  • Susan Teskey
    Posted at 00:48h, 26 January Reply

    Absolutely awesome Jason!

  • Dianna James
    Posted at 19:06h, 25 January Reply

    Jason keep going forward on the right path as you start your new chapter in life. Congratulations on this new chapter that you started. May God be your guiding light. Also remember your family needs you.

  • Diane Campbell
    Posted at 18:51h, 25 January Reply

    Awesome! Very exciting and encouraging. Congratulations!

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