Success Stories 2020
Chris obtained a job at Safeway in Everett in 2019. He is well liked and has a wonderful natural support system from the management to his co-workers. When Covid-19 hit, his family was alarmed and concerned for his safety working as an essential worker at the store. Chris opted to take 30 days leave during the peak of the crisis, however, two weeks before his leave expired, Chris was ready to return to work and he discussed what support systems he wanted in place.
Working with Chris, ENSO staff connected with the management staff at Safeway to negotiate Chris’s return to work. Chris was able to obtain the preferred schedule he had prior to leaving. Chris asked and was granted full time support on his first day back from ENSO. ENSO worked with Chris to supply a mask that was comfortable and easy for Chris to wear.
On Chris’s first day back, it was great to see the huge welcome he received by people in every department throughout the store. From produce to deli, employees yelled out big welcome backs to Chris, and it became clear throughout the day he is a valued employee at the Safeway Everett store. Chris now works with minimal support and check-in’s from his job coach, and has even added spraying and wiping down carts and shopping baskets with sanitizer as part of his duties.
When Chris was hired at the King County Elections as a Data Entry Administrative Support person in June of 2019 the position was temporary with the possibility of becoming permanent.Chris was a natural when it came to talking to others and in no time was comfortable with asking his coworkers for help on his own when he got stuck on a task. Feedback from supervisors said Chris is doing a great job and continues to work hard and is a great team player.
UPDATE: Chris heard there was an opportunity to interview for a permanent position with King County Elections. He advocated for himself by telling ENSO staff that he wanted the job, it was time and he wanted it now! With support, Chris filled out the application, updated his resume, and worked on his cover letter. Due to COVID-19, his interview was conducted via SKYPE video call. Chris did a great job taking the lead in the interview. Chris was offered the permanent position as a SEP associate 111 with King County Elections. We are so proud of Chris for being consistent with his job and being on time as well as keeping an open line of communication with ENSO staff and his supervisor. With everything still taking place with COVID-19 Chris continues to work remotely from home and checks in with ENSO staff weekly.
For about two years Earl volunteered at the Auburn Food Bank for one hour twice a week as he built his stamina and endurance. Then at the end of February 2020 Earl was hired at the Dollar Tree to work one day a week for 3.5 hours per shift as a Recovery Associate. A month later Earl was asked to work two days a week because his manager was impressed with Earl’s hard work and really appreciated the value he was bringing to the store. Several months later Earl’s new Manager asked Earl to work three days a week for a total of 10.5 hours per week. Earl’s manager would like Earl to work up to 5 days a week, but for now, Earl is comfortable only working 3 days a week. Earl’s managers and co-workers continue to praise Earl for being the best go-back/recovery staff and are really thankful to have him on the team. They recognize the excellent work he does. When Earl first started at the Dollar Tree, he knew where 50 percent of the go-back items belong and now he knows where 80 percent belong. Earl has shown tremendous growth in a very short period of time. Earl is continuing to grow as a Dollar Tree employee and as a valued employee. Earl has a great natural support system at work and also a great employment support team. When you have great natural support, a great employment support team, and the right job match, you have a great success story.
Kendyl works as a part-time sign language teacher in a preschool. She has been unable to return to work due to the Coronavirus, her home setting, and protecting those within her household. She has been using Zoom to interact with ENSO staff and practice her lessons. Twice a week, she meets with ENSO staff and teaches her lesson. She likes to chat about her interests and was using her lesson as a way to incorporate signs in a sentence pertaining to her interests. ENSO staff helps her to stay focused on her lesson. Kendyl has improved her focus by waiting until her lesson is over to talk about her interests.
Albert works at Fred Meyer in Auburn. He has not missed a single day of work since the quarantine started. Albert has been happy and friendly during this time. He has shown that he can adapt to new situations quickly and he always wears his mask and gloves and keeps his distance. He does need an explanation for the "why" of the new tasks, but is happy with the explanation which is usually associated with being sanitary and protection from the virus. He is laughing more and even enjoys going out on the weekend to ride his new bike.
Trent works at the Northgate Target in Seattle. He works as a cashier and has continued working there as an essential worker during this time of quarantine due to the coronavirus. During the month of June 2020, Trent received his yearly review and the managers informed him that he continues to be very personable and has excellent customer service. Because he is doing an outstanding job he was given a performance raise. Trent, like everyone at Target, wears the appropriate PPE. Trent continues to demonstrate why Target values him as an employee.
In addition to his job at Target, he is an active member of ENSO’s Board of Directors. During the last couple of months, the board switched to meeting virtually via Zoom. Trent met with ENSO staff and they helped him connect to Zoom so he can continue to be an active member of the board.
Arthur volunteered at Habitat for Humanity hoping to find paid janitorial work in the community. But first, he needed to increase his stamina in order to work more hours in a paid job. Then, due to COVID-19 and quarantine, Arthur’s job was put on hold. Faced with staying home and losing some of the stamina and skills he gained at Habitat for Humanity, Arthur, with his mother's help, started meeting weekly with ENSO staff using FaceTime. Every week, for 1 hour, ENSO staff observes Arthur clean his home. He starts with wiping flat surfaces, vacuuming, and then
mopping. He picks 1 new task to add to this list. Sometimes he cleans the blinds, organizes his art cabinet, vacuums the furniture, cleans kitchen cabinets, and wipes down dining room chairs. He is focused on a job well done. This has allowed ENSO staff to observe all of his skills, and learn about his interests and it also keeps his stamina and skills so he will be ready for a paid job.
Before COVID-19 and quarantine hit, Katie expressed an interest in a paid job doing inventory and sorting. She had a previous job where she did inventory and wanted to do that again. Once quarantine started Katie and her job coach, Amy, decided to practice her inventory and sorting skills. Since March, Katie has met with Amy weekly using FaceTime on her cell phone. Every week Katie inventories something in her home. She has inventoried her kitchen-including her dishes, food, silverware, and baking/cooking supplies. She has also inventory her nutcracker collection, her foreign money collection, movie collection, and music collection. Her most recent inventory being clothing. They are preparing to move onto family photos. Katie helps with ideas for her inventory and helps ENSO staff with ideas for creating the list. ENSO staff helps keep Katie focused on the task and helps notate the number of items.
Greg was volunteering at the Tacoma Rescue Mission folding
clothes before Covid-19 and quarantine. Greg said he enjoyed
folding clothes and wanted to continue to do. However, Greg’s
way of folding clothes to was to crumple them in a ball to make them smaller. When Greg had his ISP meeting in January, his father was surprised to hear that Greg was learning how to fold donated clothing. Greg’s job coach thought this would be a great “remote service” for Greg. She created a shirt folder out of cardboard for Greg to practice folding tee-shirts. Greg, with the help of his caregiver, uses Zoom to meet with ENSO staff. Greg has met weekly with ENSO staff to practice this skill. During the months of quarantine, Greg has improved with his folding so much that he no longer needs the folder. He has his own way to fold shirts, but he produces a nicely folded shirt. He has also mastered folding towels and jeans. His Caregiver still needs to spread the clothing on the table but Greg can fold the item beautifully on his own. He is now working on spreading the items on the table with the Caregiver's help and ENSO staff's guidance.
Scott is back at work at Little Caesars making pizza after being laid off due to COVID-19. In May, after being home for a few months, he realized he was bored wanted to be back at work. He asked his job coach if she would come over to help him get ready by making pizza and working on his speed. Before Covid-19 one of his goals was to improve his speed at work and he was ready to continue working on that goal. His job coach went to his house to help him make the pizza from scratch. He was so happy about it! Once he returned to work Scott dove right back in as if he never left! He is a big help to Carly and she is happy to have him back at work.
Jade has always wanted to work in a kitchen. She loves cooking! Making sandwiches are her absolute favorite! Not just a basic ham and cheese, she considers herself a sandwich enthusiast. Jade has wanted to work with food since she can remember and was always afraid to take the test that allows her to work in a kitchen. She experiences high test anxiety so the idea of taking the test was always a large fear of hers. After working with her job developer they went over a practice test for her food handler’s card. After one practice test she was able to complete the test and receive her food handler’s card! She is working towards a job that involves food and in the meantime is enjoying making sandwiches and other meals for herself and her roommates.
Alfred was working at Amazon until early January, 2020. He lost the job due the fast pace at Amazon. His job coach immediately jumped into action and started job developing for him. However, in early February Alfred found his own job at FedEx Warehouse in Kent as a Package Handler sorting boxes onto pallets for the delivery trucks. His manager stated that he moves a little slower than the others, but there is no pressure to move fast. They would rather him move slower and complete the job properly than to move fast. Alfred works between 20-25 hours a week. He has maintained his position and hours during the COVID-19 pandemic and complies with rules to use PPE at all times. Alfred's supervisor said that he is doing very well and a fast learner.
Spokane County - School to Work
Eden began working with Spokane ENSO through the School to Work program since December of last year. After graduating high school in July she was transferred to DDA services. Eden and her family’s first language is Spanish. Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we were quarantined and communication became more difficult. For Eden and her family’s health and safety, virtual meetings changed to virtual meetings, communicating became much more difficult. Eden’s Job Developer in Spokane connected with a staff member in Seattle whose first language is also Spanish. Since the connection was created there has been more discovery that has been done. Eden has opened up about the fact that she liked her old job and needs a quiet work space. Her job developer has also learned that she loves music and helps to keep her calm in stressful situations. Her job developer has learned so much about her that he did not know before, and not for lack of trying. Allowing Eden and her family to be able to communicate with ease has helped progress the job search for Eden.
Josh started out struggling in his job at Rosauers. He worked in the bakery and would frequently leave before his tasks were finished. His job coach gave him some encouragement and he began working much harder. Since December he has not left early or called out for any shifts. In fact, he has worked throughout the quarantine as an essential worker. On top of that he is now working extra shifts when his co-workers are ill and is doing extra tasks during his shift. Josh just needed a little more encouragement and support to be reminded how great of a worker he was capable of being. He is now one of the best employees and the management team is over the moon about his improvements.
Bryan has had to overcome many obstacles. In the early 80’s when he was a child Bryan was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Because treatment for tumors was still in the experimental phase, Bryan was given excessive doses of chemotherapy and radiation in the hopes of shrinking the tumor. However, they discovered years later that the amount they had given him created many problems as he grew. Through all of his physical setbacks Bryan obtained a degree and began working in Disability Support services. After working in that field for years he began suffering from strokes, multiple strokes. This caused him to be unable to work for years. Bryan is now working with ENSO and with his perseverance and some help from ENSO Bryan is now working in that same field. Bryan is working for Hope Human Services and loves every minute of it. Bryan applied for Hope Human Services in February and there were no opportunities available. Bryan continued to check in with Hope and when a position became available he was first in line. He began working at Hope Human services July 30th as a Direct Service Provider, overnight staff where he cleans and provides support to the residents as needed.
Travis has been working at Planet Fitness for over a year. He was constantly making excuses as to why he could not complete certain tasks. The main task he avoided was using the vacuum. Travis would also continuously call out of his shifts for no apparent reason. Travis, his mom, and his job coach met early this year to talk about Travis’ job position and to see what they could do to make it better for him. After a long conversation Travis said he actually loved his job but was just feeling lazy. Travis took some time off and went back to work in February. He was doing great! He did not call in for any shifts or complain about any of his tasks. He was happier and more positive while at work.