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Goodwill Mission Stories

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When Shari first started working with Individual Placement and Support (IPS) in November of 2022, she was experiencing some challenges at her current place of employment and was ready to find a new work opportunity. Her job left her feeling uncomfortable as a result of some safety concerns, but she kept the job to support her family and was unsure if she wanted to resign.

She was referred to IPS by her care coordinator at Outreach Clinic and soon began working with IPS and Community Employment Supervisor Brandi, who helped her communicate her concerns to her manager. Unfortunately, after unsuccessful attempts to fix the problems, Shari put herself and her health first and decided that she would resign. In early 2023, Shari and Brandi worked hard on finding new employment.

During her time off work, she was able to spend more time with her family and her grandchildren. Shari then informed Brandi of a date she wanted to go back to work. However, she wanted to learn if her Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and health insurance would be affected by a new job, and was worried she may lose her Medicaid.

Shari applied for services from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and was assigned to work with Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, Vickie Jackson. Vickie listened to her concerns regarding her health insurance and connected Shari to the Goodwill Benefits team for a Work Incentive Benefits Analysis. Shari was able to understand how her wages would impact her SSI and health insurance and decided she wanted to find full-time employment.

With a passion to find an administrative assistant position, Shari and Brandi updated her resume and conducted several mock interviews to help prepare her for any upcoming interviews. They applied for several jobs, some of which Shari had to turn down because work-life balance is important to her. Eventually, Shari read a job description for a trucking administrative dispatcher position, and felt it would be the perfect job for her. After she applied, she was immediately called into an interview and was offered the position. Shari was excited and felt relieved she got the job she wanted.

Shari’s work environment is very supportive and she likes to call herself, “the right-hand woman” for the job. At the beginning of employment, Shari faced minor challenges related to communicating with the drivers and ensuring they were taking the appropriate routes. Brandi coached Shari on how to have a professional conversation with them to ensure that the job is being done correctly, and connecting with her boss to ensure that mistakes will not be made again. Shari and Brandi continued to work on self- advocacy and becoming more confident in the job she loves doing.

Shari has come a long way since working with IPS and DVR. Shari and Vickie worked together and maintained monthly contacts that helped keep everyone updated on her needs and progress. Vickie and DVR played a large role in her success. She continues to grow and develop her communication skills, and enjoys using motivational encouragement to get her through challenging workdays.

Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440