Employment Immersion Success Erik Elvebak Makes the Transition

Erik Elvebak has a passion for working with and on behalf of the disabled and has nurtured this into a career. Growing up in Mill Valley, California, he became legally blind at age 33 after an ice hockey accident. After attending Orientation Center for the Blind and Chabot College in Hayward, where he honed skills that allowed him to continue his education, he got his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, with a minor in Disability Studies, from University of California, Berkeley.

Before he lost vision, Erik worked in a series of industrial jobs and he knew it might be challenging to transition into the Disability field. His Department of Rehabilitation counselor, Mario Gomez, referred him to the LightHouse’s Employment Immersion Program. He particularly credits the program for aiding him in understanding how best to build a resume as well as what strategies to use when disclosing one’s disability to a potential employer. He appreciated the camaraderie of the classroom, learning the stories of his fellow classmates and getting perspective through what the others had done. And he vividly remembers Kate Williams teaching the class about the importance of networking, both online through avenues such as LinkedIn, but even more importantly, by finding ways to interact with prospective employers in person.Erik Elvebak

The skills he learned from the Employment Immersion Program helped him to secure a job as an Independent Living Skills Instructor for Center for Independent Living in Berkeley. He now works with clients with cognitive disabilities to help them facilitate strategies, such as budgeting their income and training them in adaptive technology, that allow them to participate in their communities and live self-determined lives. The position is ideal in that it fulfills his desire to work in the disability community while allowing him the flexibility to get his GRE – he eventually hopes to apply for a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling or Special Education.

Kate Williams described her student enthusiastically, saying “Our program helped Erik organize a thoughtful presentation of his experiences, taking his transferable skills and incorporating them into his resume and cover letter. We’re so proud of what he’s accomplished.”

Are you ready to re-enter the job market? Or are you looking for work for the first time? It’s a small investment of time – just eight weeks will get you up-to-speed with the latest job-search methods, plus one-on-one counseling and interview practice in a warm, encouraging environment. For more information, call Kate Williams at 415-694-7324 or email her at kwilliams@lighthouse-sf.org.