Alex was referred to Sycamore Services through Project Search. This specialized project works with students referred by high school counselors and involves working internships as a path to gainful employment. But Alex has a learning disability and developed some mobility issues that were not diagnosed until in 2012. His mobility issues have become significantly worse in a rather short time span due to the medical people not recognizing (diagnosing) them early on. Alex had received employment assistance in the past but without success. He was assigned to Sycamore Consultant, Rebecca Stanley and she was his third EC/Job Coach. At this point, Alex’s mother was prepared to request a different provider because we had not found a good placement for him. Upon meeting Alex, Rebecca found him to be a joy to work with. He had a desire to work, an outgoing personality, and a great smile. In her eyes, he had it all going for him and, with her experienced support, she was sure he could be successful. Alex’s mom gave Rebecca until December, 2013, to find him a job.
First, he had to meet the challenges presented by his learning disability and mobility issues. These were more than what many employers were comfortable with. While driving to an appointment, Rebecca drove by an Olive Garden and thought about what a wonderful employer they had been to her consumers in the past. So, she whipped into the parking lot, went inside and made a general presentation to one of the managers. He said he would pass the info on to his GM. About a week later, Rebecca called Olive Garden to follow-up with the GM. He told her they hadn’t participated in the program for quite some time, but he was willing to try again.
Rebecca scheduled a time or the GM to meet Alex. Now, Alex uses a rather large walker with a seat on it and the GM was concerned about how he was going to work around it. Rebecca offered a “work trial” and a start date was set. When Alex got to the work trial, things were not good. His job trial was in the kitchen, standing, and rolling silverware in a manner to which he wasn’t accustomed. He became very frustrated and even angry, ready to quit. But, Rebecca asked for another work trial the following day with accommodations. She made a few simple changes in the work station and, this time, Alex was able to double his production. The GM wanted to try him as a host, but he had to have a proper uniform. Rebecca told him that the uniform could be purchased, but to do so, Alex would have to have a firm job offer. He looked at Alex and said, “OK, let’s do it. How about it Alex? You want to come to work for Olive Garden?”
In the words of Paul Harvey, “And now you know the rest of the story.” Alex is doing a bang up job! He quickly learned the restaurant’s computer program, gets along well with his co-workers and the customers love him. Olive Garden is also his favorite restaurant. When he first started, he kept saying he couldn’t believe he was working at Olive Garden. Now, he believes it.
From Rebecca Stanley, Sycamore Services Employment Consultant (About Alex: Name changed for story.)
Sycamore Services Success Story 7/31/2014
Our Success is Your Success
Most often, we see success stories about an individual service recipient, and we have many who have attained success in their own right. Even small steps for some are considered successes. However, it is our staff who make those successes possible. We submit this story of success.
Dawn Miller joined Sycamore as an employee in January of 2011. She went through an intense orientation to become an Employment Consultant. As an EC, Dawn is assigned to individuals seeking assistance in finding community based employment. She is expected to build relationships with employers to open doors for people with disabilities and improve opportunities for them to obtain jobs. Dawn developed individual plans that recognized each person’s needs, talents and desires in order to place them in jobs that would result in successful, long-term placements. She also builds relationships with co-workers to improve understanding and on-site support for the new employee.
In the past fiscal year, Dawn worked with 24 consumers and placed 16. Of those, 14 remain working as of June 30, 2104. The average starting hourly wage of these folks was $7.98 and they work an average 20 hours per week which results in average earnings of $2,553.60 per week. These earnings help individuals build confidence that will increase their chances for promotions and raises in the future. Dawn will remain in contact with these individuals and their employers to assure that any changes are handled effectively.
Dawn was successful in finding and securing productive entry-level jobs for those she served in the last year. By doing so, she created multiple levels of success for all involved. The new employee becomes successful in a new job. The employer successfully fills an open position with a new employee that is eager to work and able to complete the tasks at hand. Finally, both employer and employee know they can call Dawn and she will respond because she cares about both of them.