Employment: It’s More Than Just Having a Job

It’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), so we’re celebrating Barb – an individual who has found employment brings more to her life than she could’ve imagined.

Employment: It's More Than Just a Job

Our Employment Services team views employment as part of the recovery process – not an addition to it. The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model they use is evidence-based, and helped them place 33% more individuals in jobs in 2016 when compared with the previous year.

When Barb started her employment search, she didn’t think she needed any help. After very few leads, Barb’s Case Manager encouraged her to get in touch with Guild Incorporated’s Employment Services. Barb sat down with Guild Employment Specialists, Julie and Anthony, and realized the impact they could have.

Julie and Anthony worked with Barb to build a plan based on her wants and needs. Interests, schedule, physical requirements, and transportation were considered in addition to Barb’s strengths.

A position at a local restaurant fit the bill. Barb takes customer orders, busses tables, and ensures that guests have a wonderful experience. She wakes up, and looks forward to her job, “I love how I feel about going to work. They make me feel good about showing up and working my hardest.”

A steady job makes it easier to pay the bills, and meet other goals. Recently, Barb fulfilled a lifelong dream of going on a cruise. “Working made that possible,” she says.  Her state of mind has changed, too: “I’m more comfortable in my own skin. I just feel like I am a stronger person and getting emotionally healthier. Every day I go to work is a step in the right direction for my recovery.”

Finding a job isn’t the end of Barb’s career aspirations though. Anthony and Barb discuss frequently how she would enjoy bringing more painting, a long-standing passion, back into her life. They are working together to contact local senior centers to see if Barb can facilitate classes or display her art work.

“Job searching is sometimes like you’re stuck between rocks,” Barb says. “You can’t move forward if you don’t move the rocks, but you don’t have the tools to do it alone. Guild came with their bulldozers and helped me rock-by-rock.”

We are grateful to Xcel Energy Foundation, Securian, and Wilbur-Ellis for awarding grants to our Employment Services program. Learn more about their support.

October 18, 2017

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