Job Coaching Leads to MOD Squad Success!

Oct 24
Nicci Kelley, Program Director
Dungarvin Oregon
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Khilee B. was referred to Dungarvin through Vocational Rehab for Job Development earlier in 2018. She came in with limited experience through her transition school, with an employment goal of working as a housekeeper. She wanted housekeeping because she “really liked cleaning and was good at it”.
 
Dungarvin employment services worked with Khilee and helped her find a housekeeping position at the Doubletree Hilton that started in February 2018. Khilee’s skill level assessed by Vocational Rehab was that she needed 1:1 job coaching to keep her employed. Over the next several months, Khilee’s job coaches worked side by side with her, teaching her the needed skills to perform the position’s work tasks. It was during that time where Dungarvin’s employment staff were also learning about Khilee. She did better when receiving feedback, she was faster when she worked with people she had a relationship with, and she was at her best when her position had tasks where she could work with a group. However, this position had very limited opportunities where working with others was possible. It was becoming apparent that Khilee was not moving forward and that phasing out support was not possible in order to keep her employed. Khilee got discouraged and ended up quitting her job. She felt defeated and said she didn’t want to work again.
 
Dungarvin’s employment team believed in Khilee and her abilities. We saw her potential and felt strongly that she had a lot of skills but that a housekeeping position did not allow those abilities to shine. Khilee and her team met again to clarify some things about what would work well for her, what her interests were, as well as considering other factors such as her commute time and work environment.
 
During the job development phase this time, Job Developers worked especially hard on finding a placement that would be a better fit for Khilee and would allow her to grow and reach her full potential. It was clear that she was capable of a greater amount of independence than she was able to demonstrate in her housekeeping position.
 
In August, Khilee applied for a position on the MOD Squad at MOD Pizza in Portland. Right from the start, the interview, it was clear that this was going to be a much more positive environment. In this position, she would be able to interact more with coworkers and have that socialization aspect that was largely absent in her last job. She left the interview smiling ear to ear. This quiet young lady could not stop talking excitedly about this position and especially the perks of “free pizza”.

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Khilee at MOD Pizza

She started her new job in late August. She impressed her Job Coach, supervisor, and coworkers with how quickly she became a part of the team and with how much she was able to do. Her Job Coach set Khilee up with some tools for her to use, such as a photo beverage list that she can write on using a dry erase marker when filling the beverage cooler, as well as direct and simple social stories, and providing her assurance and a lot of feedback in those first few days.

This whole job experience was different from the housekeeping position. Almost immediately, Khilee used the tools given to her and began to master her job without the need for 1:1 job coaching. The job coach was able to work with the manager of the store to identify what natural supports could be available to Khilee while at work. The atmosphere they provide at MOD pizza enables Khilee to feel comfortable and as one of the team. Tasks that would have taken Khilee several prompts to complete at her previous position were now being performed with no direction. The young woman who kept her head down, only spoke when spoken to, and who needed constant coaching and re-direction was no longer recognizable. We quickly saw a new Khilee emerge who was funny, hardworking, and cared a lot about doing a good job. Khilee started out with the expectation that she would be attending to the lobby, busing tables, and doing some dishes. After only about a month, she not only is completing those tasks but, additionally, she has already mastered pressing pizza dough. It was a surprise when the Program Director went to visit Khilee on-shift to find her adeptly using the cash machine!

Khilee’s employment journey is an example of what good job coaching and job development can lead to. In less than a year, someone who had been designated to need long-term 1:1 job coaching is now working independently and thriving. Working to find the right employer and right position has made all the difference in Khilee’s employment success. We look forward to continuing this journey with Khilee and can’t wait to see where it takes her next!

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