Meet Manzi

Excel Center Graduate

“I knew that this was the first step to achieving my dream career.”

Imagine immigrating from Africa to Austin. What would you do? Where would you work? These are the questions that loomed large for Manzi when he moved from Rwanda to Texas two years ago. He had just finished high school and wanted to live with his uncle in Austin while continuing his education. But his plan wasn’t crystal-clear. “When I got here, I was so confused. Deep down though, I knew I wanted to be in the medical field and care for people.”

Initially, Manzi considered attending a local community college, but while he was there filling out paperwork, a woman asked him what he’d like to study. He told her about his hopes of working in healthcare, and she clued him into the Goodwill Career & Technical Academy (GCTA). Manzi had heard of Goodwill before, but he only knew it as a thrift store. Once at the GCTA, he was overjoyed to discover the Medical Assistant Program. “On my first day, I knew that this was the first step to achieving my dream career of becoming a Physician’s Assistant.”

Since Manzi had previously studied physiology and anatomy in Rwanda, he was able to complete the Medical Assistant course with ease and finished at the top of his class. After completing an externship at a large health network, Manzi passed the state exam and got his certification. Yet, Manzi faced another obstacle — getting a job. He knew he had to prove his newly developed skills to employers, but how?

Since Manzi was only 24 at the time, he was eligible for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth, a program that helps young adults work toward their educational and career goals with one-on-one assistance from a Career Case Manager (CCM). Manzi got to work with his CCM, fine-tuning his resume and interviewing techniques, and even spent some time shadowing Medical Assistants. His CCM was impressed, noting, “Manzi showed exemplary drive and determination to accomplish his goal of a career in the medical field. He overcame several challenges, including cultural and language barriers, and continuously expressed gratitude and appreciation for every opportunity.”

Just recently, Manzi secured a full-time job as a Medical Assistant with an at-home healthcare provider. He’s been recommending Goodwill and the GCTA to his friends ever since.

“When I went to Goodwill and found all these options like the Medical Assistant Program, my life changed. I started to have one goal and one career dream. Even though I still I have a long way to go to become a Physician’s Assistant, I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Goodwill Central Texas: Meet Manzi from Goodwill Central Texas on Vimeo.