Last week we covered the success of Scott R., who found work to help support him and his wife, as part of our ongoing series on National Disability Employment Month. In addition, our Assistive Tech Tuesday series featured two of our blind clients who were able to continue working, with the help of assistive technology: Steve R. and Wayne K.
For most people, a job is a means to earn a living. Among those of us fortunate to work in a field that helps people, also comes the strong sense of purpose of helping others and enhancing their lives. When that assistance comes in the form of enabling a person with a disability to find employment, that job becomes a source of dignity. This the job of Employment Services, to create the best possible job match on the basis of each consumer’s interests and abilities, is one way in which Advancing Opportunities “will achieve full societal participation for all people with disabilities.”
Confidence and Self-confidence Pay Off
“I like interacting with the students and my co-workers,” says Tarah C., one of the consumers who has benefited from our Career Development Services. Tarah is employed as a cafeteria worker at The College of New Jersey, in Ewing. With a positive attitude and a dose of self-confidence, Tarah was able to overcome initial self-doubts. “I was worried … how I would interact with my bosses and co-workers,” she says. “But it worked out fine.” Moreover, she handled an irate customer and made things right for her, even though someone else caused the error. “I was so happy for her the way she handled it,” says Joseph Mydlowski, Employment Specialist, who joined Advancing Opportunities in November 2015. “She handled it like a pro.”
Her Long Road to Freedom
Tarah’s success is especially notable in that she had been out of work for some eight years. Re-learning interview skills was a challenge, but Tarah made steady progress with Joe. The cafeteria position was a good one to see how well she could work. Indeed, Joe reports, she learned to make sandwiches very quickly. However, a short while after Tarah started her job, the building was closed for renovation. Joe advocated for Tarah, helping her land her current position. Joe shares Tarah’s confidence: “I think she is going to rock, even if she finds it challenging,” he says. “We at Employment Services, will make sure it will happen.” Already, adds Joe, “She has worked her way up. She is now handling things without me doing it for her.”
“I agree,” says Tarah. “I like it here.”