Fran… Empowerment at its finest

Occupation: 
Receptionist
Picture of Fran

I was at a point in my life where I wanted and needed a change. After several years out of the work world, my self-esteem and confidence were really low. Deciding to return to work was not going to be easy for me. I have Fibromyalgia and spinal stenosis. This diagnosis limits my ability to move around, sit for long periods of time and deal with pain. I frequently require bathroom breaks and my doctor thought that it would be best if I worked part-time.

In addition to my health issues, I am the caregiver for my two children: both have significant disabilities and require specialized assistance. In 2013, I went to Hempstead Works for help. After meeting with me and learning about my struggles, disabilities and needs, they referred me to ACCES-VR. My ACCES–VR Counselor, Nicole Bitel-Frost helped focus on my past skills and how they could be still relevant. Mrs. Bitel-Frost helped me see past my limitations and move toward identifying new career goals. ACCES-VR sent me for evaluations, provided career counseling and then offered me Business Skills training at ABILITIES Inc. Both ACCES-VR and ABILITIES Inc. were understanding of my situation and flexible with my training schedule. My children were hospitalized a few times during my training, so they allowed me to extend the training. Then after I completed the training, I needed extra help learning to present myself and speak with employers, so they gave me extra mock interview training and practice. When I was ready to work, ABILITIES only looked for part-time jobs that offered late morning or afternoon start times to accommodate my home schedule.   

In November 2014, ABILITIES found me the perfect job as a receptionist. I did so well there that within the first three months my employer increased my duties and responsibilities from just doing reception to other clerical tasks. I was then cross-trained to fill in when my co-workers went on break or vacation. My co-workers are helpful and understanding. They encourage me to try new things and help me if I make mistakes. 

Written by Fran, ACCES-VR consumer

Lorie Boyd, IES I
Garden City District Office

Worker Success Stories