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Employee Spotlight: Vicky Wright

Posted on : 16 Feb 2023 | No Comments

Since 2009, KANDU’s community employment program has paired clients with meaningful employment at local businesses. By identifying and developing job opportunities in the community, KANDU program managers help break down many of the barriers to employment that clients have faced in the past and help them gain a sense of independence and reach their full potential.

When the individual interests, strengths, and goals of individual clients are matched with available job opportunities, KANDU program managers step in to provide clients with workforce education by assisting them with resume development, the application process, and practicing interviewing skills. Once a job is obtained by a client, KANDU job coaches like Vicky Wright provide one-on-one coaching to ensure long-term success, with the goal of gradually phasing out support once it is determined the client can work independently.

This is a goal that KANDU Job Coach Vicky Wright takes seriously, “When I’m working with a client at a job, I observe them to make sure they stay on task and redirect if necessary. I encourage clients to do their best work, commend them when they do, and help them find ways to make a task easier if they are struggling with it. This could be anything from a verbal prompt to demonstrating how to do the task a few times until they get the hang of it,” explained Vicky. Vicky was a special education teacher for years and met Community Employment Program Director Debbie Bayreuther at a former student’s individualized education program meeting. “Debbie knew that I was going to be retiring and asked me to consider working for KANDU. Then, in the fall of the year I retired, Debbie called me and explained that the first client I would be paired with at KANDU would be a former student of mine, so I figured why not give it a try.”

Now several years into her position as a job coach at KANDU, Vicky has started working with multiple clients. “No two days are the same, because no two clients are the same. I get to work with a variety of personalities and abilities in a variety of work environments. My favorite part of this job is seeing the clients perform work tasks independently, or self-talk through a problem using the prompts I provided. It’s rewarding to know that I am helping the clients be successful,” said Vicky. As a KANDU job coach, it is easy to see the impact you can make on another person’s life. “Past clients still greet me when they see me, and there are some that give me the biggest smiles and tell me they missed me if I’ve been gone,” said Vicky. Clients and their coaches form a close relationship throughout the teaching process and Vicky notes the special connection she has developed with clients that she has supported long-term, although Vicky notes, “Seeing the clients be independent is the end goal, so I consider anytime that I am no longer needed, or not needed as much, an accomplishment. Not just my own, but the client’s as well.”

Like any job, some days are better than others. “There have been a few times when a client feels that they do not need to listen to what I have to say. I gently remind them that my job is to help them do their job better. But there are days when clients are just in a bad mood, and I have to know when to step back and gently encourage them. It’s a good exercise in not taking things personally,” said Vicky. Working with adults with disabilities requires a unique skill set, and Vicky’s years of experience as a special education teacher in the Parkview School District have prepared her well to be a calm, positive influence on clients.

Guidance from the community employment program staff prepares job coaches to be successful in handling any client situation. “I feel so appreciated and supported by the program staff. I don’t hesitate to ask a question because I know they are there to help. And it’s such a rewarding job,” said Vicky.

The techniques used by KANDU program managers to match clients with the right employer have proved to be successful for businesses as well.  Many businesses report that KANDU clients are highly dedicated, enthusiastic, and reliable employees.

As KANDU continues to create opportunities and expand services, more people with disabilities and barriers to employment participate in KANDU’s community employment program, and the need has increased for additional job coaches in both full-time and part-time positions. These positions vary in time commitment and schedule, making them perfect for college students, people searching for part-time work, and retirees. Vicky notes the flexibility in her schedule has allowed her to enjoy her retirement while consistently job coaching at KANDU, “I’ve been very fortunate to have a flexible schedule that allows me to travel and take vacations in my retirement years. The past five years have flown by, and I am still enjoying my job immensely.”

If you’re interested in making a difference in the life of an adult with disabilities, contact KANDU Industries today at 608.755.4123 or apply online at