How I found the Arc of Monroe
When I am asked by friends and family what I like most about my job as an Employment Specialist (Job Coach) with the Arc of Monroe, I sometimes struggle with what to say. It’s not that I don’t like my job, it’s more what to say that won’t take up 30 minutes of their time! After working in the corporate world for over 30 years and finding myself downsized at my last job as a corporate trainer, I was at a crossroads in my career. I was sure, however, that I wanted a career change. While attending a job fair at the Blue Cross Arena, I stopped by the Arc of Monroe table to look at career opportunities. When I saw the job description for the Employment Specialist, I immediately thought to myself, ‘that’s the job for me’. I knew that I could bring my passion for training, my business connections with the community, and a desire to assist those with intellectual and developmental disabilities find rewarding employment.
Working at Job Path
I have been fortunate to be part of the team at Job Path now for over three years. I have worked with some pretty amazing coworkers and leaders in my career and I can honestly say that the team at Job Path is the best! Job Path has a team of the most compassionate, hardworking, and talented employees imaginable. Everyone at Job Path has the exact same mindset. That is, we want the individuals that we support to achieve a level of independence found by working in competitive, integrated employment.
Being an Employment Specialist
When I tell people that no one work day is the same, I really mean it. There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day as an employment specialist. A day may range from completing online or paper applications for jobs, practicing job interview questions for an upcoming interview, assisting with completing new hire paperwork, coaching someone at a brand new job, or coaching someone who has been on the job for over 20 years. The old saying that variety is the spice of life definitely applies to our jobs.
Supporting people with I/DD
Someone that I support recently told me, at the ripe old age of 24, that he wants to retire from his job at the age of 90 doing exactly what he is doing now. Talk about job satisfaction! This individual had held a few other jobs in the past, but he was not enjoying them. After discovering his passion for working with the elderly population and his outgoing personality, he was able to find a job in a local nursing home on the hospitality team. He has not only made a positive impact on the residents in the nursing home and staff, but he has also become much more independent in his personal life. He has mastered using Lyft and Uber, learned how to budget his money, and is considering training to become a certified nursing assistant in the future. When I am with him at his job, I cannot help but smile when I see his passion for his job. I only wish that when I was 24 years old I was so sure what I wanted to do until I was 90!
So if any of you ask me what I like best about my job, you better set aside some time
(An addition to this blog includes Bob’s commentary regarding the changes to due to COVID-19)
The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped the amazing team at Job Path from performing some great support! The Job Path team is busy not only supporting those individuals who are still working, but they are assisting those who have been laid off. Employment Specialists have assisted individuals maneuver through the NYS unemployment system, continually reminding everyone about the proper safety protocols to follow, and staying in contact via phone calls and even Zoom meetings!
Some of the team continues to support the Arc’s residences and Arc Works.
Pandemic or not, Employment Specialists and the entire Job Path team continue to amaze and inspire me.
Job Path is the largest employment program in the region supporting more than 400 people with a wide variety of disabilities including people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), Autism Spectrum Disorders, and learning disabilities.