Moving to a new area is difficult, especially if you need to find immediate employment. The disruption can create a cascade of problems. However, this story shows that a little foresight and a dash of determination can cause a ripple effect of positivity.
New Home, New Career Possibilities
Recently, Connor moved to Dane County to be closer to his brother. He had worked steadily for over 20 years, and this was the first time he was on unemployment and a government program. He was enrolled in Wisconsin’s FoodShare and was referred to Forward Service Corporation for possible employment training opportunities.
Ed White, a case manager for the FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) program, met Connor and asked about his long-term goals. While Connor needed immediate employment, he was determined only to use it as a steppingstone toward “not just a job, but a career.”
Ed says that Connor was, “unsure of the future, but determined and hopeful.”
Since he was new to Dane County, Connor was unaware of its employment resources and local employers. Together, he and Ed explored potential job fields, reviewed open positions, and drafted a plan to help Connor reach his ultimate goal of self-sustainability through meaningful employment.
One Job Toward a Career
First, Connor simply needed a job to pay his bills. It helped Connor to see that this was a step in the right direction, not the destination. After some searching, he found a job that would keep him afloat while leaving time to work on his employment materials and search for other opportunities.
To help offset some of his costs, FSET provided transportation assistance to Connor in the form of gas vouchers. This helped him get to and from his temporary job and to interviews for new ones.
Meanwhile, he and Ed met regularly to talk about what kind of career he might want and to look for opportunities toward that goal.
Careers in Focus
The process of discussing Connor’s interests and priorities became essential to finding the right career path. It brought his ideal career type into focus. And the hard work paid off.
By exploring job leads, Connor eventually discovered a position at Mendota Mental Health as a Certified Nursing Assistant trainee, specifically as a music/art therapy assistant. This tapped into Connor’s passion, providing a way to marry his love of art (see photo for example) with helping people and a path forward to a long-term career. He jumped on the chance to apply, and, being prepared through his work with Ed, got the job.
Ed says, “Connor was an upbeat person from the start, but he has become very excited about the possibilities before him and is very grateful for the services provided. He is so positive it is infectious to be around him.”
Connor is checking off his goals quickly: start a career path (check!), prepare to leave FoodShare (check!), and pave a way toward self-sustainability (check!).