Goodwill of North Georgia works hard to find opportunities for those trying to provide for their families and understands the immense racial socioeconomic and wealth gap that persists in the state. The organization – currently one of the largest retail operations and workforce training agencies in Georgia – is the number one Goodwill nationally for serving African American job seekers and offers expansive, no-cost career service programs to help close these socioeconomic gaps within Georgia communities.
In honor of Father’s Day this Sunday, here is a story of one father supporting his family and the impact Goodwill has had on his life. In 2010, Quandarious Brinkley was a jobless, 18-year-old father whose fate changed when he walked into the South Dekalb Goodwill Career Center.
Quandarious lived within walking distance of Goodwill’s South DeKalb Career Center and on his trips to the grocery store, noticed the steady stream of people flowing through the doors. Having never worked before and in need of a job, he decided to seek advice from the center. Despite his lack of experience, Quandarious was hired by Goodwill as a part-time floor tech/custodian.
During his time as a custodian, Quandarious took advantage of the opportunity to network with program managers and directors. After a year and a half, and a progression from part-time to full-time, these trusted mentors encouraged him to apply for a job coach position because they saw Quandarious’ potential. Clearly they were correct, because in October 2011, at age 20, Quandarious became the youngest job coach ever hired at Goodwill and at 21 years old, Quandarious became the youngest employment specialist in Goodwill history.
Quandarious credits his Training Manager Thea Parlagreco for encouraging him to not lose sight of the college degree he started prior to the birth of his son. In January 2018, Quandarious enrolled at Georgia State to complete his undergraduate degree with tuition assistance provided by Goodwill. Quandarious graduated cum laude in 2020, earning a bachelor’s in sociology with a minor in public policy and went on to receive his masters degree in public policy from Georgia Tech. Today, he supports and conducts risk-based audits of business operations for Salesforce.
Thinking back to that day in 2010, he could never have imagined the impact Goodwill would have on his life. While he asserts that he would not have made it without the support and encouragement he received, his Goodwill family celebrates his success, knowing that it was truly his motivation, determination, and perseverance that brought him to this moment.