Meet Walter H.

When you hear Walter’s story, you begin to realize how hard he’s worked to accomplish his goals.

Walter first came to Challenge in 2009, and in a short time, secured a job at one of the Challenge-run dish room at Ithaca College. After some time there, he moved to the Cornell campus, working as a dishwasher as part of Challenge’s Contract Staffing team at Willard Straight Hall. But, Walter knew he wanted more.

The story, as Walter tells it, led him to have a conversation with Larry Workman, Challenge’s General Manager of Contract Staffing, and they talked about an open janitorial job at Cornell.

Walter knew he wanted to keep pushing himself, and he kept working with Larry and Challenge staff member Jason Harriott. And with a little help from Challenge, which included assistance with the application and interview process, Walter landed a full-time job at Cornell. In November 2017, Walter celebrated his three-year anniversary there.

Ryan Notarpole, an Employment Specialist at Challenge, was another person who served as a support for Walter over the years, and talks about how Walter made it through the hiring process.

“Walter was able to learn a variety of soft skills and proper work etiquette that made him formidable competition for an open position at Cornell University as a custodian,” Ryan says. “Walter has always been very personable but this level of professionalism helped him attain the position over a number of qualified candidates. Walter realized how rare these opportunities can be and with this knowledge he dedicated himself, giving all of his effort to ensure success here with Cornell.”

Walter says he’s learned so much over his three years in the job, from basic janitorial skills to using heavy machinery within his department. And still, with a steady job in the location where he wanted to work, Walter had another goal.

“My biggest goal was to someday be able to own my own home, and be the first child in my family to be a homeowner,” Walter says.

When Walter needed help with that goal, he knew Challenge would be there for whatever he needed. Two years ago, Walter accomplished his goal, and now has his own home.

Walter says Challenge helped him through the process of putting a down payment on a home, and says he knows his mom is proud of him.

Great job, Walter!





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