From Informational Interviews to Paying Positions: PCSEPP Participants Nick and Sean

By Sara Porcaro | Mar 30, 2021
PCSEPP, BHDDH, Employment, Opportunity, IDD, Disabilities, Rhode Island, ADA, Empower, Equality
Nick and Sean

The workplace is a different animal than it was just a year ago. These days, so long as one has an internet connection and a laptop, work is now something countless professionals can take home with them, and since 2020, so many have in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, for some, Zoom alone can't replace the social aspect of going to work and seeing one's peers, and for others, the risk of getting the virus kept them home and out of work entirely. It was, and for many, still is, a lonely time.
It's also one that's slowly but surely coming to an end.
With vaccination rates increasing, people are getting back out into the community again--and Nick and Sean, two participants in the Person Centered Supported Employment Performance Program (PCSEPP) that receive supports from AccessPoint RI, have not only had the opportunity to tour the workplaces that make them comfortable, but to even begin new jobs with Ocean State Book Binding!
"I felt like I needed a job," says Nick, "and I'm glad to have one now. I'm happy to be working, and I like the people I work with."
PCSEPP, a program funded by the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH), is one that combines the talents of local service providers (Perspectives, AccessPoint RI, and the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center) and national partners (Skills for Rhode Island's Future, the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMASS Boston, and Able Opportunities, Inc.) to encourage individuals to not only discover their talents, but to imagine them at work in the community and build a path towards one's dream career.
"It makes my heart happy to see [Nick] happy," says Nick's mother, Cathy. "PCSEPP showed him that he's worth having a job, and he's so proud of himself."
"PCSEPP showed [Nick] that he's worth having a job, and he's so proud of himself."
Nick and Sean both worked with Career Developer Jennifer Quintana to begin their journey through the program with the discovery process, where they discussed past work experience, learned how to take photos and videos on the iPad, and tour several potential workplaces to see where they could imagine themselves using their talents. From places like the Old Theater Diner in Coventry to local Cox Communications offices, they had the opportunity to learn about a variety of jobs and environments. One of those places was the Ocean State Book Binding warehouse in Providence--and while Nick first arrived to see what a typical day on the job looks like, he was also offered a position by the owner, who was happy to show Nick around.
"It was such a surprise," says Jennifer. "We went just expecting to see what a job there might look like, but Nick loved it, and the owner had positions open. He even had another position to fill, and when Sean toured, he found he liked the work environment, too."
And there's plenty to love. With a great Patriots mural on the wall in the employee break room, a friendly dog named Tucker to keep everyone company, and coworkers that are friendly and supportive, the first few weeks on the job have been a hit. Sean works three hours a day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while Nick works Tuesdays and Thursdays; their work consists of unpacking and folding towels and arranging sheets for Rocket Books: digital notebooks whose reusable pages allow users to upload their notes online and wipe away the ink for endless fresh sheets. They're also learning to use Able Opportunities, Inc.'s Work Autonomy app for the iPad to further grow their independence on the job. Nick and Sean enjoy the their work, as well as talking about sports and other subjects with their coworkers, and best of all is having a paycheck to save for the future--be it for clothes, a takeout treat, or possible trips in the future. Sean especially, who used to go to Disneyland with his family when he was young, is looking forward to the possibility of saving for another trip to Florida.
"I like the work I do," says Sean, "and I like getting a paycheck each week. It feels good to know I make my own money."
It also makes it that much easier to relax at home, now with the ability to safely go out for a change of scenery at work and know they've done an excellent job. In their free time, Nick enjoys relaxing in his recliner and watching wrestling videos on his iPad, and Sean likewise enjoys virtual karate classes, as well as helping out around the house, participating in Special Olympics, and getting lunch at Subway. With the income from their jobs, they're able to enjoy more of the things they love, and not only does it bring a smile to their face, but to their friends' and families' as well as they watch Nick and Sean go to work ready to do a great job.
A year after the pandemic, the PCSEPP program is still going strong, and Nick and Sean are charging ahead on their journey. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the program and discovering the path to a career you can feel good about, reach out to Perspectives' Employment Team at employmentservices@perspectivescorporation.comor call (401) 294-3990.


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