Recently, Jessica Mahon, Director of Career Services, presented at the Missouri Rehabilitation Association Conference. Along with Judy Grainger, their session was titled, “Explore Every Avenue: Journey to Employment.” During her presentation, Jessica invited a person who received services from ACT to speak about her experience.
For her privacy, her real name is not used here.
Sharon, like most high school graduates, wanted to earn her own income after graduation. After working at a sheltered workshop with other people with disabilities, she found it wasn’t a good fit.
“I wanted to work in the community. But I had a bad attitude,” says Sharon, after her partnership with Vocational Rehabilitation ended. “I really needed to work on it.”
Sharon was employed through two more sheltered workshops, but couldn’t find the place she belonged.
Finally, she was referred to ACT.
Her employment history didn’t look good. But ACT staff believed she deserved a chance. Sharon began with job preparation services.
“I learned the ropes. I learned how not to beg, borrow or steal.”
Through Job Prep, she figured out how to get along with other people. “My attitude improved, and I learned how to be a good worker.”
Through ACT, Sharon volunteered in the community to develop more job skills until she was ready to approach Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) for a second chance. VR helped her find the right fit. Now, says Sharon, “I’m at the job of my dreams.”
ACT still follows up with her periodically. Her bosses love her. She is an exemplary employee. Her employer often tells new employees they want them to use her attitude at work as a model for their work.
Sharon is an example of success. With the right skills and coaching, she was not only able to find gainful employment, but also feel satisfaction and pride in her job.