Overcoming Barriers and Turning Dreams into Reality: Kristie’s Employment Story
From a young age, Kristie has been fascinated with medicine. As soon as she could read, you could find her pouring over anatomy and physiology books, learning the language of the human body. Growing up, she didn’t realize her passion would one day lead to her career.
Working odd jobs through adulthood, Kristie never felt fulfilled. A series of moves led Kristie and her children to Shakopee, Minnesota. Since relocating, Kristie has faced her fair share of difficulties: family issues and illness, death of loved ones, and an ongoing struggle with homelessness over the past three years. Kristie prioritized her kids having stability of education in the Shakopee area, even when it meant long bus rides while the family stayed at a shelter in downtown Minneapolis. None of these factors made maintaining employment easy.
For a while Kristie worked in housekeeping at assisted living facilities, but she knew something greater was calling her. The problem was navigating the steps to make that happen. “In housekeeping, you get to see the patients, but you don’t get to care for them. I wanted to develop those 1:1 relationships and give them the best care I could provide in their final years.”
In March of 2016, Kristie’s case manager in Scott County referred her to Guild’s Employment Services. In partnership with MN DEED Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Guild’s team utilizes the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) employment model to assist individuals in finding, getting, and keeping competitive jobs. While Guild Incorporated has offered Employment Services in Ramsey and Dakota Counties since 1994, the services launched in Scott County in January 2016.
When Kristie met Julie Carr, Employment Specialist at Guild – she discovered the help she needed to begin mapping the vision for her future. Kristie’s one-on-one meetings with Julie focused on identifying skills, interview prep, and confidence building. While pinpointing her strengths, Kristie identified how she could use them to minimize the barriers currently standing in the way of her career goals. Grateful for her experiences with Employment Services, Kristie expresses, “I’ve never gotten hired so fast in my life. They dove in head first, straight-on. I told Julie what I wanted to do and the direction I wanted to head and she didn’t mess around, she did her research and found positions that were a good fit for me.”
Kristie’s current position is as a Personal Care House Attendant. Whether it’s putting a smile on a resident’s face or meticulously reviewing medicine logs and paperwork, Kristi’s job duties focus on providing the clients with the best care possible. “I enjoy thinking about what each patient needs individually and love making their day. They may forget my name or my face, but they never forget how you make them feel.” Kristie adds that it helps that she feels valued as an employee, knowing her voice and concerns don’t go unheard. That type of working environment only makes her strive to perform better.
Her kids support her in whatever choices help Kristie further her dreams. “When I got my current job offer, I could either work part-time or full-time. My oldest children encouraged me to go full-time. They offered to help out. They want to see me succeed.”
The support and services at Guild don’t end once a client has a job either. Recently, Kristie began working on a plan to make her career dreams a reality. This fall, she is using prior coursework to test out of requirements to become a registered Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Minnesota. This will provide new opportunities for Kristie at her current workplace. It is also the first step in going back to school for her LPN and then a RN license. Julie is helping Kristie research school and scholarship opportunities to lessen financial burdens. One reason Julie connected Kristie with her current employer is their staff education program. Julie sees a bright future for Kristie, “I knew Kristie had strong goals for where she wants to end up. She was very forthright on that. Once we worked together to discover her skills – it wasn’t hard to help her discover her worth as an employee.”
October 13, 2016