How Paola ‘Stapled’ Her Career Plans through JEVS hireAbility
When asked where she would be without the help of JEVS hireAbility to acquire a job, 23-year-old Paola T.—now an employee at Staples—responded, “I would be struggling. I would feel worthless.”
Paola graduated high school in 2014 and continued her education at Cumberland County College, NJ, where she earned her associate degree in business management. Following her graduation in 2017, she was ready to enter the workforce. Although, it was not this simple for her.
Paola struggled with getting a job because of personal barriers, as well as lacking basic job search skills and job experience. Despite these factors, Paola remained persistent, “I have applied for jobs so many times, I’ve lost count. Without a job, I had to cancel my cell phone and couldn’t go to driving school. I couldn’t even buy the essentials that I need.”
After countless applications, she finally sought help. She was referred by the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) to JEVS hireAbility (an affiliate of JEVS Human Services), which is a customized employment program to assist individuals living with a disability or chronic disease by preparing them for competitive employment and community integration.
“They helped me to realize that it takes a village to find a job!” Paola said.
At hireAbility, Paola met Tina Green. Green is an employment specialist and worked with Paola through every aspect of her job search over a five month period. Green not only helped Paola find and apply to jobs, but also how to construct her resume, how to prepare and dress for an interview, as well as how to remain calm during an interview.
Throughout the process, Paola’s interview skills grew and her determination did as well, noted Green, who described the eager job seeker as a bright young lady who was highly motivated and responsible. She consistently followed up with job leads, pre- and post-interview recommendations, attended job club, and sought honest feedback to ensure that she was making her best presentation to an employer. Paola was intent on getting a job and never got discouraged; if a company didn’t respond, she was ready to move on to the next application.
“Paola went above and beyond, making sure she was prepared to succeed,” said Green. “What contributed to her success was that she took the best advantage of the services we had.”
Following Paola’s hard work and dedication, she was eventually offered a part-time opportunity at a Staples store in Millville, NJ, as a print and marketing associate, assisting customers with copying, scanning, printing, and shipping via UPS. Paola felt that the job was perfect for her because she felt she fit in, as did they.
Supplied With a New Future
Fast forward seven months, and Paola really enjoys her job, as well as her coworkers and customers. She’s achieved her goals and feels that her life has changed for the better.
“My mom is so proud of what I’ve accomplished. She feels like I’ve matured a lot. I’m saving up for a car, and want to go back to school. I would tell others in my shoes to not give up. The most important thing is to be patient and never be a quitter.”
She remained optimistic throughout her job search process and continues to be optimistic about her future today.