I’ve talked a lot about our community partners. The businesses and volunteers who come in, make a difference and leave us a better organization than the way they found us. Some businesses, though, support us year-round by employing adults in our WorkForce Diversity program.
You may be thinking, “Big deal.” But, it is! Bona Vista’s WFD program has been providing career placement services for more than 40 years. Thanks, in part, to businesses like Walgreens, Goodwill, Subway, Walmart, Meijer and the YMCA (just for example) who have been business partners of ours for a while. They are looking for friendly, smiling faces who have a foundational knowledge of customer service and who have an incredible work ethic.
The current, qualified WFD staff is made up of Indiana University-certified Employment Specialists. The staff knows the local job climate and participate in local and state activities that relate to employment and the economy. In other words, they have skills that can help your business pay your bills. And, who doesn’t want that?!
Persons served through the WFD program participate in job readiness classes, internships and other specific training programs. These trainings ensure that the persons served are prepared for employment when they start a job, which is really beneficial to employers. In addition to being prepared for the specific job, they have also gained a tremendous amount of self-confidence through their training. They are EXCITED to work. They WANT to work. If you think about some of your current employees, how many could you say that about?
The staff works with employers who need pre-screened and dependable job candidates; job seekers and career changers; high school students and recent graduates searching for vocational direction; and people who are determined eligible for services through Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services (Voc Rehab).
Do you need a more specific example? There are hundreds over the years I could tell you about, but here is one more recent. Andrew S. is an outgoing, friendly individual in the WFD program who wanted community employment. He went to one business to see about employment. They let him try it out for several days to see if he would be able to do it on his own. Unfortunately, between Andrew and his employment specialist, they decided that the computer entry work would be a little too challenging for Andrew to do without supervision. So, they moved on. The next week he went to a different business to do the same “type” of work, but without the computer aspect that he struggled with previously. This next business was the PERFECT fit for Andrew. He is now working several days a week, is loved by the staff and is excited to have this renewed sense of independence and confidence.
Andrew, and many others like him, are the reason this program exists. Andrew wanted to work. Andrew is willing to try new things. Andrew can do many things on his own after a little bit of training. Andrew is a loyal and dedicated employee of a business who was in need. Andrew now has a steady income and increased independence. Andrew will now talk to anyone and everyone who will listen about his place of employment and the hard work his Bona Vista employment specialist put in to make that connection happen. I have a hard time seeing how this is NOT be a win-win.
Persons served have a wide range of abilities, and live in Indiana throughout Tipton, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Cass, Carroll, Pulaski, Hamilton, Madison, Grant, Wabash, Clinton and White counties. These individuals may have developmental or intellectual disabilities, but work tirelessly with our employment specialists to find a successful placement.
The list of partnering business continues to grow, and we couldn’t be more appreciative (more than 30 in Howard County alone!). However, we are always looking for more! The more options we have to match persons served up with the job of their dreams… the better! We don’t want to place someone at a fast food restaurant if what they really want to do is push carts or greet the door at a large retailer. We want to make sure our matches are a perfect fit for both the employer and the employee!
We are going to start highlighting some of these amazing businesses on our Facebook pages (@bonavistaprogramsinc & @bvjobs) so you can get a better look at how the partnerships work. However, if you’d be interested in seeing how we can partner with your business, call Vice President of Vocational and Day Services Meredith Freeman at 765-454-5997.
Until next time… keep a good view on life!