Jami had to leave her previous job due to a change in her health. She began receiving disability benefits, but remained motivated to return to full-time employment.
When I got my disability [benefits], I wasn’t planning on staying on it very long…I knew that I was going back to work.
Having never worked with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), Jami was hesitant to contact her local VR office. However, she did get in touch with them, and found that they were able to provide her with benefits counseling, job training, and assistive technology.
Jami was enthusiastic about returning to work. Her VR counselor helped her get an interview at Royal Oaks, a car dealership, where she impressed her interviewer. As the interviewer put it, “My experience with Jami…She came in for an interview and she just had an amazing amount of excitement and you could tell the passion just to get a job.”
She was hired as a receptionist for the dealership, but quickly moved up to a new position as a car dealer. VR helped her successfully shift into her new role, which she is enjoying.
I feel like I have a purpose now again, that I get up and go to work. And thanks to voc rehab, I can do that.
Jami specializes in finding the right car for all customers. She has also purchased her first brand-new car, which VR was able to adapt for her, further increasing her independence. “I’ve never had a brand-new car, but I now have a 2016 Chevy Trax that is set up – from voc rehab, actually – with hand controls. I enjoy my car and I’m proud of it because I know I worked for it.”
Jami’s success at the dealership has inspired her employer to hire other individuals with disabilities. He has also encouraged other businesses to expand their job searches and to seek out potential candidates with disabilities. “Once you get past that fear and see what the person has in their heart and their spirit and their, just their desire, it’s an asset to any company.”
Working full-time gives Jami a strong sense of purpose. She advocates for others to use their local VR offices as well, so that they can also reach their full potential. “VR is here to help you, not hurt you. So if you need a little assistance, it’s ok…My advice would be to just go out there and don’t pass up any opportunities…They’ll help you find something that you like, and maybe you can become very successful at it.”
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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