Curtis Lands Job at State of Minnesota with Support from Disability Placement Services
“I never thought about how I was going to find a job with a disability before,” Curtis said. In 2013, Curtis had a brain tumor resection, which led to some disabilities. He was initially able to stay in his job but later got laid off due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He reached out to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) vocational rehabilitation services and was referred to Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s (GESMN) Disability Placement to help find a job.
Curtis got connected with Career Navigator Alyssa, who helped him with his resume, job skills and provided ongoing support. “We did a lot of work on self-advocating. I think it’s a good skill to have,” said Alyssa.
“Every week we would meet and go over job listings, find things that fit and then I would apply,” Curtis explained. “I wasn’t having a lot of success with that and then I noticed there were job postings coming up with the state.”
GESMN helped Curtis get connected to Connect 700, a Minnesota state program that offers people with disabilities the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to perform a specific job position for up to 700 hours.
“I was the site reassessment record specialist with Minnesota Pollution Control. I was primarily responsible for scanning documents, putting them into the system and getting them available for program staff to access,” Curtis noted. “When I first started, I reached out to Alyssa a few times, asking for her advice on how I should address certain things that were coming up and that was really great.”
“Once you go through your pre-probation, which is what the Connect 700 is, you have regular probation, which all applicants must do to make sure you can do the job,” Curtis continued. “Once you’re through probation, you get certified. When you’re certified that position is yours no matter what, even if you move to another department, the state will hold it for you if you go back. Being certified is a really big part of state employment,” Curtis explained.
“Being certified opened up new opportunities for me, which allowed me to explore other possibilities within the state.” Curtis recently got promoted to a state program administrator technical specialist, which is a much higher grade than his previous position. “It’s a totally different role, this is much more outreach. Just getting to interact with so many more people has been exciting.”
“I’m proud of where Curtis is at. He’s a very motivated person,” Alyssa said “I was there to support and walk beside him, but he is where he is because of himself. He always came to meetings with me, prepared and ready to do our thing. I’m very happy to see him where he’s at.”
“The opportunities that came out of it [GESMN’s Disability Placement] were huge. Having the regular check-in and constant support was really great,” Curtis added. “It’s not automatic job placement. It’s a tool to help you find a job. You have to put in the work, have interviews, evaluate them and have that discourse between you and your navigator to figure out if a job works for you.”
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GESMN offers nearly 20 career services that support over 5,500 Minnesotans each year. To help support our programs, you can make a donation here today.