Gary… The Past Does Not Always Predict the Future
When Gary applied for ACCES-VR services, he had a number of barriers to employment. He had been on public assistance for almost 20 years, was on probation, and lacked a high school diploma. All of these could seem to be insurmountable barriers to employment, yet the day Gary met with Nancy Conniff, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at ACCES-VR, he knew that no barrier was completely insurmountable.
Gary has a learning disability, a history of addiction, adult onset diabetes and recurring mental health issues. Gary applied for ACCES-VR services because he was interested in becoming gainfully employed. Ms. Conniff remembers being impressed by Gary said during their first meeting. Gary said that he was flexible in considering different types of jobs and that he was determined and goal-directed. As a result, Nancy felt confident that Gary was capable of pursuing his work goals.
Gary was referred to Restoration Society /Ace Employment Services for supported employment. It was agreed that he would benefit from individualized support in the job search process and short-term job coaching. Finding employment was challenging but Gary remained optimistic, showing up for all scheduled appointments, completing numerous job applications and going on several interviews. ACCES-VR provided Gary with funding for transportation to meet with his job coach for his job search activities. ACCES-VR also provided a clothing allowance for interview attire.
Gary learned of an opportunity to become a NYS Security Officer at CDJ Investigations. He interviewed for the position and was allowed to shadow a guard on duty. Gary liked what he saw and decided to pursue the job. ACCES-VR purchased work boots and slacks for Gary, and also paid for Gary to attend classes to become certified as a NYS Security Officer. Because of Gary’s difficulty with reading comprehension, his employer arranged for the accommodation of having Gary’s job coach in class with him. Gary passed the required tests and seemed to be on his way to a new career. However, his application for licensure was denied due to his probationary status. His employer then stepped in and assisted in requesting an administrative hearing to appeal the denial of licensure. With the support of Gary’s Probation Officer, the appeal was granted and Gary received his NYS Security Officer license.
Gary has been employed as a full-time security guard with CDJ Investigations since February of 2014. He eagerly accepts any overtime he can get and is no longer in need of public assistance. Gary successfully completed his probation almost a year ago. His employment played a major role in early release from his probationary status. His job duties include providing security for an assigned building, including screening visitors, detaining visitors if necessary, completing required paperwork and alerting staff to potential problems or concerns. With the assistance of ACCES-VR, Gary was able to overcome the limitations of his past and walk confidently into his future.
Dennis Martinez, IES II
Buffalo District Office - Western NY Region