Kenneth McLin first joined Goodwill in 1968, and since then he’s worked in both the Commercial Services and Retail divisions, at locations including Michigan Street, Tremont Street and Stout Field. Today, he works in the warehouse at Goodwill’s Outlet Store on West Washington Street. In 44 years, he’s hardly missed a day of work.
“I think what impresses me most is his dedication,” said Bret Swisher, Warehouse Supervisor, who has known McLin for 13 years. “Kenny is always here. He's always got a positive attitude about things.”
It was McLin’s mother who first connected him with Goodwill. She was concerned about his job prospects, given his limited education and slight cognitive impairment. He interviewed and started working the same day, and his job became permanent 30 days later.
“I started up in contract work,” McLin said. “My first job was assembling pieces. I got paid for how many I did.”
With each new task or location, McLin built up his skills and adapted to change – a quality that has helped make him successful, according to Swisher.
A far cry from his early days of assembly, today he operates an advanced piece of machinery: a vertical, auto-tie baler that compresses salvage clothing into 1,000-pound bales. “It definitely is one of my favorites,” McLin said. “It keeps me busy all day.” The bales are sold in developing countries, generating revenue to support Goodwill’s mission.
McLin’s employment with Goodwill has been mutually beneficial, according to Swisher. “It's provided him a permanent job. It's given him a sense of responsibility and a sense of being,” he said. “He provides such a positive influence on individuals. Everybody that walks through here can look at Kenny and realize, ‘I can stay here. I can make a career.’”McLin was recognized with Goodwill’s first-ever Career Service Award in 2012. He’s thankful to have found an employer where he could be happy working for so long. “Goodwill has been really good to me, and they’ve been kind to me,” he said. “I really enjoy my job.”