Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Client Success Story!

Ryan Page, a vocational counselor for the south-west region of Virginia started working with his client in June of 2016.  As a friendly and hardworking individual, Ryan’s client felt like his skills fit well in a grocery store setting.  When he first began his job, Ryan’s client was to stock vegetables as well as sort and unload palettes.  They worked together on pacing and efficiency in completing his everyday tasks.

Now, after being employed for a year and a half, Ryan’s client has seen a raise and a promotion at work.  He is currently in follow-along services and his employer states that he continues to excel. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Lauren found success through Vocational Counseling!

Katelyn Lacy, a vocational counselor in the Central Virginia region, started working with Lauren Garrett in April of 2017.  They began by completing extensive job development training for four and a half months. Together, they worked on job interviewing skills, social interactions within interviews as well as with coworkers.  Lauren worked on distinguishing boundaries with coworkers as well as learning appropriate topics of conversation in the workplace.

While Lauren has many personal strengths — she is a straightforward and friendly person— when Katelyn began working with her it was clear she wasn’t a fan of change. However, as time went on, Katelyn was able to support Lauren through the transition of finding employment, transportation, and learning communication styles with different individuals in different environments.  After this learning period and 11 interviews, Lauren obtained her current position at UVA Runk Dining Hall with Aramark as a Food Service worker in the Bakery!

During her first week of working at Aramark in the dining hall, she was placed in the salad bar, but due to the short staff in the bakery department, the Supervisor ended up moving her to Bakery.  She was resistant at first to the move, but after discussing the position and skills that she could gain, Lauren agreed to give it a try.  Now, Lauren is happy and loves her position in the Bakery and doesn’t mind switching to other stations within the dining hall as Aramark employees work as a team unit and Lauren is always happy to support her co-workers.

Her daily tasks consist of food prepping, baking and following a schedule of dessert items that need to be portioned, plated, or baked each day.  In addition to the bakery, Lauren also supports other stations within the dining hall if there is a call-out or extra help is needed.  She truly enjoys helping her coworkers.

Lauren loves to speak and get to know others, so she has made many friends with her coworkers and students while working at the UVA Dining Hall.  She also has the dream of opening her own bakery someday as she truly enjoys it!  The dining hall continues to be a great opportunity to allow Lauren to gain new skills, find a creative outlet in baking, and talking with others as she enjoys and is good at making friends.

Lauren has grown within her position at Aramark and achieved multiple Spot Awards for Sell and Serve with Passion and Teamwork.  She has also been mentioned on the WOW Board that posts surveys of dining hall customers for her friendliness and efforts at the bakery. She has also become accomplished at gaining healthy and supportive relationships with her coworkers and Supervisors that has allowed her to become more comfortable at work. She has improved communication with others about concerns or confusion with conversations she may not understand.  She has reached stability within her position and her case has since been closed within job training services.  Lauren continues to reach out to her Supervisors and coworkers for support when needed and she continues to grow and shine within her position.

Lauren is a loving, comical and friendly young woman. She loves to make others laugh and have a good time.  Alongside her sense of humor, she is from the small town of Gordonsville and has that distinct southern charm about her.  She knows practically everyone from her hometown and enjoys getting to know all the ‘regulars' at Runk Dining Hall.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Christopher found a success through job training!

Heather Gilman, a Choice Group counselor serving Central Virginia started working with her client, Christopher in July of 2017.  Together they made lists of Christopher’s job preferences such as cleaning and stocking, and she was able to set up vocational assessments to try out those skills in action. While he performed well, they did not seem to be the best job fit.  As Heather got to know Christopher and his family, discussing his hobbies and interests, his family told her that he enjoys cooking loves helping out in the kitchen. Bingo! They immediately began looking for opportunities in local restaurants to complete another assessment.

It was during this time that Heather came across a flyer for the Stone Soup Project. Stone Soup is a food service training program designed to help those who complete the course get necessary job skills to enter the workforce. After talking about the opportunity with Christopher, she advocated to support him in this program to his DARS Counselor.  The 6-week course began in October. They attended the classes together and Christopher not only learned important food prep skills but received many items he could take home in order to practice what he learned in class.

Since Christopher had such an affinity for working in the kitchen and around food, he did well to learn new tasks.  He enjoyed his homework and practicing techniques he learned in each of his classes which helped with his skill acquisition.  During the course, their largest one yet, Heather assisted Christopher to position himself in key spots in the classroom so that he could see the skills being modeled and ensured he had a chance to try out the skills being taught.  Christopher also developed some natural supports with other class participants who wanted to see him be successful.  Christopher continued to learn more skills each week. He would remember what we had done the week before and was able to increase his independence with assigned tasks. His knife skills greatly improved over the course of the program.   

During his time at the Stone Soup Project, Christopher received three certificates for completing the class: ServSafe, Customer Services: In Action, and Stone Soup Food Prep Job Skills. Heather and Christopher will begin JD in January and are positive that all of the skills and certificates he has earned will make his job search with local restaurants successful.

Christopher loves to cook and listen to all types of music.  He is an extremely friendly and personable guy. When you speak with Christopher, you can’t help but smile.