Meeting Josie, you will be struck by her bubbly personality and friendly demeanour, and you will quickly realize that she is also a smart, well-educated woman with an impressive list of skills and experiences. Despite this, she struggled to find employment after moving to Canada from the United States to be with her spouse.
Josie has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and music from the University of Charleston (new window). Her work history is comprised of a number of administrative and customer service positions, as well as experience in the social services field. She has even owned and operated her own business. However, for more than six months, Josie looked for work without success. She grew more frustrated by the day and became consumed by guilt at the strain she was putting on her family by not being able to contribute financially.
That is when Josie turned to the Neil Squire Society for help. Josie has an agility disability (new window), which affects her not only in the workplace, but every aspect of her life. In 2013, Josie sustained a fall that left her with permanent damage to her knee. Because her knee can no longer support itself, Josie wears a custom-fitted brace. This also meant that she had to look for work that would allow her to sit for the majority of the day.
She also has damage to the vertebrae in her neck from a previous car accident. This nerve damage affects the strength in her wrists and hands and causes excruciating migraines. Writing with a pen causes her hand to stiffen into a claw, and repetitive or intricate tasks can become extremely painful. However, Josie manages her disability well by alternating her daily tasks between sitting and standing and making monthly trips to her chiropractor. Luckily, technology allows her to work effectively and efficiently on a computer.
Once enrolled in the Working Together Program at the Neil Squire Society, it quickly became apparent that Josie had all the qualities of an exceptional employee — she just needed a better way to showcase these qualities to really capture an employer’s attention. Working with her job developer, she did a complete overhaul of her resume to better highlight her impressive skill set. Armed with an updated resume and some new job search strategies, Josie set about her job search with renewed optimism. It was not long before she caught an employer’s interest. In a short matter of time, Josie secured a position with Xerox (new window) in their overnight call center.
Now, with a month of employment under her belt, Josie says, “the job is going great!” Her employer has been extremely supportive and has provided her with all the tools and equipment she needs to be successful on the job, including an ergonomic workstation. With this opportunity for stable, long-term employment, Josie has been able to alleviate some of the financial stresses she had been experiencing and start enjoying life again. “Life is good!” says Josie.
“Everyone at Neil Squire gave me back my hope when I was starting to feel like I was running out of options. I am so grateful.”