Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Mariam came to TCG when she wanted a change!


Mariam was working a retail job for 5 years before she came to The Choice Group looking for a change. Having lots of experience in the retail space, she was skilled at sales and conversing with customers but wanted something different and challenging. With a fun, talkative, and outgoing personality, Mariam wanted a position where she could interact with a lot of different people and have interesting conversations. She began working with Alexandra, her vocational counselor, in October of 2017.

Together they found a position for food demonstrations at Advantage Solutions. Having a personal interest in cooking at home, this was a job that intrigued her. In her position as an Event Specialist, she is able to combine her retail experience with her love of interacting with customers. 

Initially, she was shy drawing people to her demo station, but with her extended and studied knowledge of the products she’s offering, her confidence grew. Stimulated by her active role in engaging her customers in a sales capacity, Mariam finds creative talking points about the products she is demonstrating and is motivated by getting customers to want to buy her products. She’s truly a natural!


A creative spirit and an amazing artist (her home is filled with unique artworks she has made over the years) Mariam enjoys using her free time to paint and cook at home. She lives with her mom and shares the role of cooking and cleaning. She loves the opportunity this position has given her to try out different foods and products that she can use at home and share with her mom! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

From secondary meal prep, to employee of the month! Casey found success with supported employment


Katie, a vocational counselor for The Choice Group in the Richmond area, has been working with her client, Casey, since June of last year. Relatively new to the workforce, Casey’s main obstacle was finding a position having limited work experience. Along with his mom and his DARS counselor, Katie and Casey sat down to discuss his previous jobs, training experiences, transportation options, hours of availability, and areas of interest. Where would he even want to work?

With an easy going, positive and flexible attitude, it wasn’t hard to find Casey an employer willing to hire him on! He soon found a position at the Chick-fil-A in Mechanicsville that met with of his availability and transportation options. When he began training, Katie worked with him on his basic food preparation tasks for the restaurant as well as customer service skills such as eye contact, multi-tasking and prioritizing in a fast-paced restaurant environment. Katie also worked with the employer, educating them on the importance of natural supports and incentives. 

On the job, he learned to prepare salads, fruit cups, yogurt parfaits, and wraps to Chick-fil-A standards and making custom orders as needed. Initially a secondary preparation person, his skills grew and is now independent in both opening and closing the food preparation area of the restaurant. Earning the recognition of Employee of the Month/Shining Star, his managers have asked him to help train other employees and has cross-trained on hot food prep and various cleaning and maintenance tasks. 

In the year he has been employed with Chick-fil-A, Casey has grown independent on and off the job site. He is very comfortable in his environment and built great natural support relationships and friends among management and co-workers. He is currently working towards obtaining his driver’s license to get back and forth independently. Katie checks in monthly with Casey and his managers with phone calls and on-site visits.

When he’s not at work, you can find him video gaming and joking around with his friends online. Casey enjoys spending time with his dogs and taking vacations with his family.