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Inclusion; The Key to Success

posted on Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Recently we asked Jessica about her experience with finding a job through EPI’s Employment Services.

“I have worked at Buffalo Wild Wings in Cedar Falls for over four years now. It’s the only job I’ve kept for four years. I have started a job, quit or gotten fired but have now had this job longer than any other and I don’t intend to give it up anytime soon. I LOVE working here,” said Jessica.

Jessica went on to share her most memorable moment thus far was when her coworkers began coming to her instead of going through her job coach and realizing she no longer needed the support. That’s our favorite memory too!

We believe work is a crucial part of feeling a sense of belonging. Despite significant job gains over the past few months, many workers are facing higher levels of unemployment. As America’s economy recovers, inclusion will be key to our success.

EPI’s Employment Services focuses on supporting individuals overcome barriers between themselves and competitive employment. While matching skills and interests to employment opportunities earning at or above minimum wage.

We have had the honor of supporting people in finding over 200 jobs in the last five years. Read that again, over 200 jobs in just five years! That is no small feat and we are very proud of our team for this level of achievement. These jobs have been found on local community job boards online, in newsletter classified ads, and through great partnerships. We have worked with over 100 different area businesses to develop employment opportunities for all.

These amazing business partners include everything from retail stores, restaurants, family-owned businesses, schools, hotels, child care centers, automotive service centers, car washes, manufacturing plants, and many more! Businesses like one of our longest lasting partners at Walmart in Waterloo to one of our most recent business partners, Casey’s General Store in La Porte City.

Our extremely passionate team assists individuals with building a resume, finding and applying for a job, preparing for interviews and making follow up contacts. If job coaching is necessary, we work with the individual’s employer (at no cost to them) to complete on the job training before someone graduates services.

We also assist those receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits through the American Dream Employment Network or ADEN’s Ticket to Work program. This free program gives individuals the opportunity to utilize all work incentives and benefits that Social Security offers while increasing greater independence through employment.

Whether someone is just entering the workforce for the first time, returning to work or currently working, our Employment Services can support people in achieving these Ticket to Work program benefits.

But we don’t stop there, our Employment Services team stays engaged throughout the community. Recently, Nicole Ericson, Associate Program Director, was named Iowa APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment) Board President. Our very own Stephanie Duffy, Job Coach, was this year’s recipient of Iowa APSE’s Professional Award for her strong advocacy for persons served!!

We will remain committed to finding real jobs for all. If you or someone you know is interested in our Employment Services or looking to hire a person with a disability, please do not hesitate to reach out. Visit us here or call us at 319-232-6671 today!