Meet Ababa

GESMN connected Ababa to a banking career and to resources that helped her settle into a new home.

Photo of Ababa at work


When we explain our services at Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota (GESMN), we sometimes use the term "holistic." It's not a buzzword — it's an accurate reflection of how most of our participants interact with our organization. A single participant doesn't usually use a single GESMN program. Instead, they get a hand up from multiple programs that help them achieve independence in every facet of their lives.

Ababa emigrated to Minnesota from Ethiopia in 2013. Her work visa was delayed, but that didn't stop her from buffing up her resume through language learning and volunteerism. She divided her time between parenting two small children, taking English classes and volunteering in her community at an Ethiopian traditional store.

In 2016, Ababa became a GESMN participant. She enrolled in our Banking and Finance Training and continued her remarkable go-getter streak. Banking and Finance instructor Nicole Krutzfeldt confirms it: "Ababa had perfect attendance, got 100% on nearly every assignment and aced her final exam."

During the 8-week training, Banking and Finance participants meet face-to-face with representatives from local banks. With help from her instructor and career specialist Roni Thorkelson, Ababa landed a part-time teller job with one of the banking representatives that had interviewed her during the class. Within three months, she was promoted to full-time teller. Currently, Ababa is working toward setting up a financial literacy course for other recent immigrants.

GESMN does more than provide participants with job training and connect them with employers looking for talented workers — we also position them for success. Before and during training, Ababa and her two children were sharing a single room in a relative's home. She worked hard to find affordable housing, and GESMN's community resources team helped her secure furniture, clothing and other support.

Ababa came to GESMN looking for new opportunities, but getting a full-time job and a new home doesn't mean she's crossed the finish line. "Goodwill has opened a doorway for my career," Ababa says. "My dream is to go as high as I can."