Meet Dawn

Dawn enrolled in GESMN’s ReEntry and Construction Training Programs to get back on her feet.

Construction Participant Dawn

"Goodwill has given me so much. It's been a really big experience."

When Dawn shared her story at a Ban the Box learning event, she was partway through our 12-week Construction Training Program. Dawn and her fellow construction participants had just made the jump from classroom and shop training to working on construction sites.

"I've been in the construction program for six weeks now, and it's really great," Dawn said. She talked about mastering a wide range of construction skills, from the tape measure to the circular saw, and how it turned out she's "really good with windows." But Dawn's education didn't begin and end with the practical: "I've learned a lot about myself and a new way of life."

Between construction training and her server job in Uptown Minneapolis, Dawn was working 16-hour days — tirelessly dedicated to the vision she'd set for herself. "My goals are to work full-time in the construction field. To better myself. To be a productive member of society," Dawn explained. "I have two children — a son who's 12, and a daughter who's almost 19. She's in my life, and he will be in my life soon. I want to stand on my own two feet, raise my children and be a part of their lives."

Construction training is only one element securing Dawn's path to a successful career. Another is Ban the Box, a Minnesota law that requires employers to wait until later in the hiring process before asking an applicant about their criminal record. GESMN and our Second Chance Coalition partners worked hard to pass and expand the law so employers see people like Dawn can by their merits, not their histories. "When you apply for a job, they just throw you in the garbage if you have a background. So when I learned about Ban the Box I was like, 'right on,'" Dawn said. "I'm a good person. It's not what I did; it's who I am."

Dawn graduated construction training in May and is working toward having her driver’s license reinstated. Next stop: a thriving career doing what she loves.

"I'm grateful to represent the construction program — it’s changed my life," Dawn said. "I thank God every day for one more chance to get it right, and I thank Goodwill for giving me that chance."