Nancy Tabri forged quite a bit of new territory to sign-up for the LightHouse Employment Immersion Program and land her new job at as an Invoicing Clerk at Moe’s Tire and Auto Repair in South San Francisco. “I almost never left my hometown of Foster City and never took BART on my own before I signed up for the Employment Immersion Program,” she says. “But after two years of looking for a job and not finding anything, I decided to sign up and give it a try.” Rosemarie Lang, Nancy’s counselor at the Department of Rehab, steered Nancy towards the Employment Immersion Program, but Nancy had to get there.
Taking BART to reach the program in Berkeley was the first challenge. “I got my ticket, got on the train, but when I got off at the Berkeley station, I took the wrong escalator up. I was so scared. I felt really vulnerable traveling alone. I called Kate [Employment Immersion’s program leader Kate Williams]. She talked me through it. She told me to get up and keep going.”
Nancy found her way to the Berkeley office – and to whole new set of skills. “I learned so much in the program. The first thing I learned was that there were a lot of people who felt isolated and were having trouble finding a job, just like me. That helped a lot. Before the Employment Immersion Program, I thought I couldn’t do things.” After two weeks in the program, she learned how to take BART, use a white cane to travel independently for the first time in her life, and how to write a resume and cover letter. “I learned that I can do things. I just might have to do them differently than other people, and that is fine. Before, I used to worry about traveling alone, and I thought most jobs would be too hard for me. Now, I have confidence. I know I can do things.”
The most helpful part of the program, she says, was interview practice. She learned “to follow the voice and not to worry about making eye contact. I also got comfortable talking about my disability. I used to avoid talking about it, but now I can, but also don’t feel like I have to. I learned how to navigate illegal or uncomfortable questions about my disability.”
Kate Williams noticed Nancy’s grit and determination: “Nancy has jumped every hurdle and faced every challenge with enthusiasm and a ‘can-do” attitude. Give her a challenge and she will take it on. Prior to attending the Employment Immersion Program, Nancy had never ventured outside of her neighborhood using a cane. Now she travels from her home in Foster City to all points independently. We are so thrilled the program could facilitate her tremendous growth. We look forward to watching her continue to grow. Her work commute on Caltrain involves a transfer, but characteristically Nancy is taking the challenge.”
Nancy said, “I made a new friend in the Employment Immersion Program, learned new skills and built my confidence. I like my new job. My employer has been very accommodating, and I love my coworkers. I recommend the program to anyone – I got up and found my way, just keep going and you’ll get there too.”
Looking for work for the first time? Is it time for you to re-enter the job market? Our next Employment Immersion session runs from Tuesday, January 27 through Thursday, February 19 at our office at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. For more information, please contact Kate Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-694-324.