Testimonials & Success Stories
In the spring of 2015 Sammy said “I decided to get out of the house and start helping the family”.
Sammy was referred to the WIN Program, a collaborative placement program with Woodland Centers, Vocational Rehabilitation Services and WCI. Sammy started to work with a job placement specialist who helped him fill out applications, practice interviewing, check on how income would affect his benefits and much more.
Sammy was hired and started his job at the local American Legion as a dishwasher. Sammy speaks highly of his supervisor and co-workers, “Tammy and all the people at work have been great to work with. Everyone at work is so nice and they have become my friends”. Sammy still washes dishes and has been able to add other duties of salad bar preparation. Someday Sammy would like to learn how to help with the cooking. Sammy says “working makes me feel good about myself and I feel that I can do anything”. Sammy continues to receive supports from his team which includes his mental health provider, ARMHS worker and his job placement specialist.
Steven is an energetic young man who is very hardworking and so much fun to be around, said Employment Advisor Tania Sletta with West Central Industries in Willmar. He had been working with WCI for several years, with a good job, with a good employer for good pay. One day, Steven came to Sletta and said, “I don’t want to work this job anymore. I want to work on a dairy farm.” She was a bit shocked at the request. No one had asked her for a job like that and she had never imagined anyone ever would.
“He explained that he had worked on a dairy farm in his youth and really enjoyed it.” It was something he really wanted to do. Sletta suggested they take some time and discuss the pros and cons. Steven gave it a thorough review and made a planned decision to pursue work as a dairy farmhand.
“Being a ‘city girl’ myself, I had no clue where to even start to look,” she said. The newspaper ads had nothing, so she began with an Internet search. The two looked for local dairy farms, found phone numbers, and left messages for each one.
Sletta was surprised how quickly the responses came. One gentleman said he didn’t need a farmhand, but knew of another farm that did. He provided them with the information, and they contacted the potential employer. As Steven was talking with the prospect on the phone, she heard him discussing everything in dairy farm code. “He was using foreign words like ‘parlor’ and ‘milkers,’ and suddenly he was really quiet and his eyes lit up,” said Sletta. Anxiously waiting for him to get off the phone, she watched as he scrambled to get the receiver on the hook. He blurted out with excitement that they had asked him to do a trial day as a farmhand. “And?” she asked. A gradual, but giant grin crept onto his face. “I said I would.”
The trial day came and the employer was impressed by how well Steven did with the cows. “Steven has a natural talent with the animals,” he said. The farmer expressed that he was excited to have such a great worker, and he offered Steven the job.
Steven gave his notice to his “good employer,” and two weeks later started his dream job. “This experience really enlightened me to the possibilities for all of the people I get to work with,” said Sletta. Steven was “good” with where he was at, but it wasn’t his dream, she explained. With a little more effort and a lot of blind faith, she and WCI were able to move Steven from a “good” job that he didn’t really like, to his dream job in less than 30 days. “I love that I can still learn so much from the amazing people I get to work with! Thank you, Steven!”