Blake was injured at 17 years old, and became quadriplegic. While in high school, he worked with Transition Plus, a program for 18- to 21-year-olds in the Minneapolis public schools. Transition Plus helped Blake to create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that included working with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)--a partnership that continued throughout college.
Blake didn’t originally know what kind of services VR could offer, but he was thankful to start working with them at a young age so they could help him continue on to school and have a meaningful career: “I worked with vocational rehab throughout college. They helped me with career exploration.”
Initially VR helped Blake enroll in college and aided with tuition. Later, their work together began focusing on finding employment. They helped Blake prepare for interviews with practice questions and mock interviews, as well as résumé assistance.
VR also helped with benefits counseling. Blake was concerned about losing his benefits, so VR counselors conducted a benefits analysis to help him see what he could expect.
When I first started out, I was definitely fearful of losing my benefits because they helped me cover so much of my daily living routine.
During college, one of his classmates told Blake about an internship at Infinite Campus, a student-focused information technology company. The classmate suggested that he apply.
Blake was accepted into the internship position, and soon impressed his employers. His supervisor said, “He impressed us with the technical knowledge he had and what he would be bringing to the team. He showed that he was ready for a full-time position and that he was going to be able to contribute to our team.”
Blake’s internship led to full-time employment at Infinite Campus as a software engineer. He and his co-workers enjoy collaborating on projects and problem-solving together.
Getting into this job has opened up so many different things for me…It gives me a reason to get out of bed every day.
His job gives Blake financial independence. It also gives him the freedom to go out with his friends and participate in things he enjoys, such as a bowling league.
Most importantly, Blake is able to live independently and provide for himself. He looks forward to having a long career with his company.
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The SGA Project is funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education Grant # H235L100004