Some people are excluded from Minnesota's thriving economy. The unemployment rate in Minnesota is 60% higher for people with disabilities, and a job offer is only the first step to experiencing the power of work.
When Brandon accepted a job at a packaging warehouse, it was a big accomplishment — but it didn’t mean he’d crossed the finish line. He moved into Goodwill’s extended employment program, which helps people with disabilities maintain jobs and advance in their careers.
Through extended employment, Brandon receives one-on-one support designed for his unique needs. Initially, because of a seizure disorder and short-term memory loss, Brandon had difficulty getting around the large warehouse he works in without getting lost. But with coaching from Goodwill and continued practice, Brandon soon learned how to navigate his surroundings. He uses tactics he learned from Goodwill in conversation too — he makes notes on his cell phone so he has key information at his fingertips in case he forgets the conversation.
“I’ve gained experience in the workplace and I got experience working with people I don’t know,” Brandon says. He’s shy and soft-spoken, but he’s getting better at asking for assistance when he needs it. “Goodwill has helped me be around other people. I’ve gained experience in being more open.”
Brandon also set a goal around transportation. Because of his seizure disorder, Brandon can’t drive, and riding the fixed bus system unsupervised is a safety concern. With the help of his career support specialist, Brandon wrote a letter to his doctor and got permission to ride a specialized bus called Dial-A-Ride. He applied for Dial-A-Ride and was approved. Now he can get to and from work on his own instead of depending on his family for rides.
“My job coach reminds me of things, tells me what a good worker I am and tells me how well I get along with others,” Brandon says. He’s been on the job for almost a year now, and he strives to do his best despite the barriers he faces every day. He enjoys his newfound independence and has his eye on getting his own apartment.
Goodwill’s one-on-one employment services are helping Brandon thrive. When you donate, shop and round up at the register, you support us and support people like Brandon.