Lifeline Connections

supported employment

Cheryl: A Supported Employment Success Story

Cheryl: A Supported Employment Success Story

Prior to becoming employed in June 2020, Cheryl had been seeking work for a little over two years. She disclosed that before deciding to engage in the Supported Employment program, “I was feeling really directionless and like I didn’t have much structure to my days. I was having a really hard time finding available jobs on my own. I needed help with my resume. And, I was consistently relapsing without any structure.”

What happened next

Cheryl actively engaged in Supported Employment services with the motivation to gain competitive employment right away. She was hired by Lifeline Connections as a Janitorial Team Member, providing specialized cleaning services in multiple facilities around Clark County, WA.

Supported Employment Supervisor, Debbie Peabody, assisted Cheryl with pre-vocational skills, “Cheryl focused on the task of achieving her career goal and I am impressed with what she has accomplished this year.” During the job search phase, Cheryl said, “I was able to get help with re-writing my resume and making it more polished. You found a number of jobs for me to apply for. And I feel like you’ve been really supportive. You followed up with Chris [hiring authority] a number of times to see where I was at in the process of getting a job, and you were keeping me hopeful and patient, because it did take a while.”

The doors opened

Cheryl’s polite persistence and patience helped her obtain a part-time career in a peer recovery environment, where her own personal success continues to evolve. Since becoming employed, Cheryl disclosed, “I have a lot more self-respect and independence. I like that I can pay my own bills. I’ve gotten my longest stretch of sobriety by being employed. I’ve made a really great friend; a co-worker.” Employment can be enjoyable, Cheryl described, “I like having autonomy, and that I feel like I’m giving back to the community; both the recovery community and Clark County. I like that Chris [supervisor] has been really understanding and supportive of some of my challenges. I really like my schedule and that it’s consistent. And I like that I have a lot of responsibility here. I like being part of the team here.”

The positive responses

When asked what her friends and family think of her obtaining this job, Cheryl said, “I feel like they’re proud of me for working again, and finding some more success. [Mom] She’d been telling me that she’s proud of me.” The first job a person accepts is an important step in one’s own career goal. Cheryl’s future career goal, she said, “is eventually I want to get back into full- time work, either in a kitchen or I would be open to doing even more janitorial stuff again. I think I would like to keep this job for as long as possible.”

Cheryl would like others to know, “I feel like Supported Employment is a really good tool. I think it really helped me overcome a lot of barriers to employment. I felt stuck with what to do with my resume. And how to broach finding a job while being in recovery. AND in a COVID-19 challenged job market.”

Note: Cheryl gave us permission to publish her full name in this success story.

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