Miguel Martinez Success Story

Miguel Martinez was a troubled kid in high school with bad grades and a record of truancy – missing months of school at a time. To top off all the things happening in his life at the time, in 2016, Miguel learned that his partner was pregnant, and they were both only 17 years old.

To support his family, Miguel went to work at a warehouse in Mansfield, working hard to stand out as an exceptional worker willing to sacrifice for the company to work his way up. In 2018, Miguel felt the need to go back to school with a desire to earn his high school diploma. Unfortunately after revealing his plan to his coworkers and supervisor he quickly learned he had no real support system within the organization and they discouraged his dreams and told him it would be a waste of time and hurt his career at the warehouse.  He was insecure in his decision to return to school, and didn’t want to anger his employer, so he continued working at the warehouse.

In 2019, Miguel was fed up with the direction of his life and made the decision to choose education. He quit his job and set out to earn his high school diploma. The day after quitting his job, Miguel visited the Drop Out Prevention Center in Arlington, Texas where he learned that he was ineligible to earn his high school diploma. Disappointed that he could only earn his high school equivalency, but determined to meet his goals, Miguel enrolled in the Drop Out Prevention’s GED program. He quickly saw that the other enrollees in the program were out of his age range and he felt out of place. With second thoughts and regret over quitting his job, he wasn’t sure what to do next.

A couple of days later, Miguel got a call from an unknown number. Normally not a person to answer an unknown number, curiosity got the best of him and he answered the phone call. On the line was a Goodwill North Central Texas representative who began to talk about the E² program. Realizing that the GED program Miguel was currently enrolled in was not a good fit, the representative explained how Goodwill’s E² program would allow him to earn his high school equivalency and earn a paycheck at the same time. In disbelief that a program existed that would allow him to get his education for free while being provided with paid work experience, Miguel felt like this was the break he had been waiting for.

In September 2020, Miguel completed Goodwill’s E² program and earned his high school equivalency. He is currently enrolled in Goodwill’s Youth Job Skills program where he hopes to achieve even bigger goals than he had imagined. Through the YJS program, Miguel received a certification as a Professional Customer Service Provider and has been introduced to the world of job search websites, most notably Goodwill’s partnership with Indeed. He is also currently enrolled in Goodwill’s Leadership Academy HVAC class. Miguel is now able to focus on his strengths, build his resume, and more importantly take hold of a newfound confidence that he will take with him in future careers.

“I’m happy and proud of myself for achieving this goal and not even a global pandemic stopped me from doing it,” Miguel said. “Goodwill’s E² program helped my family and I’m grateful for that because now I have the confidence and high school equivalency to help set me up for a more promising future.”

E² and Youth Job Skills are funded by Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County.