Meet Ileini

Goodwill Program Participant

When Ileini first came to Goodwill, she was 20 years old, living in a tent behind the Walmart. She knew she had to make a change.

When Ileini first came to Goodwill, she was 20 years old, living in a tent behind the Walmart on Norwood Park Blvd. She knew she had to make a change, and finding employment would be the quickest way out of her circumstances. She began by visiting the Goodwill Community Center every day from 8 am to 5 pm in order to utilize the public Computer Lab to search and apply for jobs, when a Goodwill Team Member reached out to offer assistance through Goodwill’s programs and services.

Ileini immediately secured temporary employment at a Goodwill Retail Store through our youth internship program. She continued to work towards something more, and thanks to the skills and support offered by her Case Manager, she received an offer of employment the day after her 21st birthday.

Ileini’s quest for something bigger didn’t stop there; while she was grateful for her new job, she wanted more opportunities for growth. She continued to work closely with her Goodwill Case Manager to become even more job ready for the demands of a growing Austin community. She enrolled in a training program with the IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group) Academy, an association that operates in partnership with local community organizations to provide skills development and employment opportunities within the hotel company. During the program, lleini shared her desire to enter the security field. Once she had completed the training, IHG matched her with a six-week internship in the Security Department at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel.

Ileini worked diligently to balance a 30 hour job with her new full-time internship. Her steadfast approach paid off! At the end of her internship, Ileini was offered a full-time job as a Security Guard at the hotel. With Goodwill’s support and her new position, Ileini now has safe housing, and she is on track to a better future.

“I was the face of homelessness….Now I have a job, and I’m working towards bigger and better things in life.”