Meet Armando

Assistant Store Manager at Goodwill

“Goodwill helps by giving people second chances, including myself.”

It’s been a busy year for Armando. After he was released from prison, Armando knew that he was going to make a change for himself and his family. Over the last 12 months, he earned a position as an Assistant Store Manager at Goodwill, and then he even opened his own small lawn care business to expand his opportunities on the side. But how did he do it?

“I just hit the ground running,” said Armando. “Goodwill has opportunities, and their mission is something I want to be a part of. Goodwill helps by giving people second chances, including myself.”

Hailing from a small town in East Texas, Armando lived with his father and stepmother in a “loving, humbling home.” His dad worked 60 hours a week to provide for Armando and his four siblings. “It was very hard for my father to take care of us, but he never stopped or gave up.”

However, Armando’s teenage years proved to be tumultuous. He dropped out of high school and became a father to three daughters and one son — whom he credits today as his daily motivation to keep pushing forward. In 2018, before going to prison, Armando met his soon-to-be wife, who has been an ongoing source of support, even shuttling his children for hours to visit him in jail. “My wife was there for me the whole time — she’s my rock.”

Another source of support while Armando was incarcerated arose from his decision to get his GED and complete the nine-month Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), after which he received a certificate from Baylor University. In addition to learning life skills like accountability and time management, he developed connections with fellow participants. “The program gave me a brotherhood that I’ll have forever. My PEP brothers hold me accountable.”

Armando was released in September 2020 and reunited with his wife in Austin, who had found them a place to live and a job as a nurse while he was away. His first priority was finding a job. One of his PEP brothers suggested Goodwill, so he interviewed for and earned a job as a Merchandising Processor, sorting and organizing donated goods; and in early December, was promoted to Supervisor. His manager spoke with him about his goals at Goodwill and recommended a pathway to get him to a Store Manager position if he was willing to put in the time and commitment. In March 2021, after displaying great leadership and drive, Armando achieved his goal of becoming an Assistant Store Manager. “I love my job, and I am grateful that my manager is one of my biggest mentors.”

When Armando told his manager about his intent to use the entrepreneurial skills he learned in PEP to start a lawn care service, his manager worked with him to navigate his responsibilities at the store and those of a small business. He even offered to be his first customer, which sparked the beginning of his business! “Right now, I have 12 customers, and by the end of the year, my goal is to have at least 20.”

However, for Armando, job number one is Goodwill, with the goal of becoming a General Manager one day. “I want to stay at Goodwill where I can help people who are coming out of prison or living in poverty. It can be hard to get your diploma, find a job, or get a career certification; but Goodwill has the opportunities — it’s amazing! Who doesn’t want something better for themselves? I’m very thankful for Goodwill and all the people around me who have helped me push through.”