When our family moved from Montana to Eugene, OR, we had few contacts and didn’t know many people. I didn’t know my way around well and didn’t know how, or where, to begin looking for a job. I had never even made a résumé or filled out a job application. It was daunting to think of taking on the job market by myself with no experience or support.
Having a disability makes everything harder. It is sometimes hard to find the words I need to explain things or answer questions. I knew I wanted to work, and that I could be a hard worker, but how could I prove it? Even if I had been taught, I would need guidance to do a job right. If I did a job wrong, would they understand it’s because I have a disability?
I was lucky to have my mom because she got me into services at Goodwill Industries of Lane and South Coast Counties that could help me. I did not even know what “transferable skills” were. My job coach helped me to find out my skills and what sort of jobs would be good for me. I was excited to fill out job applications and learned a lot.
When I got the job, my job coach spent time working together with my supervisor and I, until I got comfortable. My job coach stayed with me at the worksite and gave me extra training so I could learn the job. Once I was comfortable and knew how to do the job, she challenged me to work even harder. Then I realized just how much I could really do. She explained to me that someday I wouldn’t need her anymore because at my job, I had natural supports; people in the workplace who would care, and support me.
With Goodwill’s help, I have had more opportunities, and have come farther, than I ever thought would be possible.
Hear more stories from people like Sarah »