A New Job Opportunity Offers Challenge and Independence - Penn-Mar

A New Job Opportunity Offers Challenge and Independence

Posted on February 27, 2024

Looking for employment can be daunting for anyone but for a person with a disability, the quality of the support system behind their search is critical.

As an Employment 1st provider, Penn-Mar works with the people with disabilities it supports to connect their interests, skills and conditions for success to competitive integrated employment.

A woman standing in an office.When Trisha Conley was looking to transition from her part-time job at Dairy Queen to a position with more opportunities and challenge, she worked with her Penn-Mar Career Counselor, Savannah Ashlin, to re-evaluate her skills and personal career interests. Together they created a game plan to determine “next steps” for seeking out appropriate job opportunities that would meet all of Trisha’s criteria.

Trisha lives at home with her father and grandmother in Manchester, PA. She takes advantage of Penn-Mar’s community-based services two days a week, meeting with staff for casual conversations and employment prospecting. She also enjoys the community activities the organization provides that include volunteer assignments, going to the gym, mall and restaurants, as well as walks and other outdoor activities on good weather days.

“Trisha has a warm and personable demeanor and is dedicated to both work and community service,” said Savannah. “Her passion for helping others includes actively contributing to her community by serving food at church on Sundays.”

When it came time to look for new employment, Savannah and Trisha evaluated jobs offering part-time positions that would complement her past work experience and skills.

“Trisha excels in various tasks, including bussing tables, stocking, dishwashing, and folding,“ said Savannah. “And she loves being around people and making friends at work.”

After assessing an opening at the Hoss’ Family Steak and Sea, a well-known restaurant chain in York, Penn-Mar reviewed the job requirements with Trisha to ensure it was something that she would be interested in and comfortable doing.

Once she agreed to take the next step, Penn-Mar arranged an interview with the restaurant. “The interview went great,” remembers Trisha. “Everything I was expected to do was explained and any questions I had were answered. They showed me around the restaurant and introduced me to the manager. I liked the place.”

Savannah and Trisha filled out the application that same day and a week later Trisha was offered the job. “It made me feel so good,” she said.

Auspiciously, she began her on-the-job training on Valentine’s Day, learning how to wipe down the salad bar, restock the food offerings, plate food, and prep food for the next day, learning how to make sure everything was fresh. Although still in training, she confidently says, “I pick up on directions quickly.”

It is important to Trisha to be able to earn her own money. She likes the independence it gives her to go to a movie or buy “special things like earrings and tee shirts.” And with her new position, she can continue saving for an upcoming family trip to Tennessee.

Her Career Counselor is confident Trisha will be successful in her new job. “She is a dynamic young professional who has valuable skills and a strong work ethic.” High praise from someone who has come to know her well!

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