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Skills, Confidence, and PCSEPP: Rachael's Career Search Success

By Sara Porcaro | May 25, 2021
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PCSEPP, BHDDH, Employment, Opportunity, IDD, Disabilities, Rhode Island, ADA, Empower, Equality
Rachael

It's hard to believe that we're already speeding along into the second half of 2021. Yet at the same time, it's bringing changes we've been waiting on for what feels like forever: businesses reopening further, warm weather bringing promises of a gorgeous summer. Beyond all that also comes a time to also begin seeing the results of hard work; just as our gardens are waking up from a rainy, chilly sleep, so too are the many goals made by participants of the Person Centered Supported Employment Performance Program (PCSEPP) coming to fruition. Since starting the program, one participant, Rachael, has not only learned many valuable skills in PCSEPP through the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center, but has also earned herself a paid position with those skills--and today, we're celebrating her success!
 
 
The RI Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH) is currently funding the PCSEPP program, with provider agencies like Perspectives, the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center, or AccessPoint RI supporting individuals in discovering their interests, learning the skills needed to find and keep a great job, and build their resumes. Participants also have access to a variety of tools and resources, provided by Skills for Rhode Island's Future, Able Opportunities, and the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMASS Boston, to help them connect with their communities, find new opportunities, and learn important skills to shape the way they present themselves to employers and master their jobs. For Rachael, one of the most important pieces of the PCSEPP program--one that helped her curate her position--was the iPad, with which she was able to learn to make iMovies on any topic.
 
 
"We were looking into Rachael's different skills and interests to find a job she might like," says Job Developer Dani Iorfino, "and after learning how to make videos, she made a bunch of really good ones. I thought maybe she'd want to find a job where she could keep making them, so we started thinking from there."
 
 
And that planning led Rachael to making a video pitch with Dani to work for her father's karate studio, West Bay Martial Arts. After making a video for the studio to help raise awareness and recruit new students, Rachael and Dani decided that also creating a video pitch for her job. She directed the video and collaborated with Dani, then presented the video to Rachael's father, who was happy to see not only the work Rachael put in and the skill she learned, but the confidence she showed in the process. She got the job, and since then, she's been working Tuesdays and Saturday mornings at the dojo, taking videos of classes, keeping the dojo clean and the inventory in check, and working directly with students to support them in their martial arts.
 
 
"It's almost second nature to me since it's my family's dojo," Rachael says, "and I really like working there and getting to tell everyone about it through videos. I always try to do my best because I want to make my family proud."
 
 
"I always try to do my best because I want to make my family proud."
 
 
"Her father had the biggest smile on his face when he watched Rachael's pitch," Dani says. "You could tell he was happy about all the skills she'd been learning."
 
 
For Rachael, who not only wants to work hard at her job to continue growing her skills, but also to be there for her family and help recruit new students after the pandemic, the job is special to her. She enjoys getting to earn her own money and go shopping, out to eat, and more, and she puts her best efforts into her duties at the dojo, going above and beyond as she thinks of new ways to keep students engaged with rewards like "Student of the Quarter." Beyond that, Rachael's confidence is also up, and she's proud to share her experience and success at events like RIPIN's employment webinar. It's something she enjoys, and something that, as summer comes closer, lets her earn the money to go out and have fun with friends after a long time of social distancing and sheltering in place.
 
 
"PCSEPP is a great program; you learn so many useful things," Rachael says. "I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to learn new skills and find a job."
 
 
With Rachael's success, and the hard work and creative thinking that she used to achieve it, we have no doubt she'll continue to thrive with her family's dojo. She and Dani used the quiet time of winter and early spring to not just learn skills, but also learn Rachael's preferences and dreams for the future. We're wishing her the best as she continues her career at West Bay Martial Arts!


 

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