Olivia Margetic has never understood low expectations. Olivia, who has been visually impaired since birth, was raised with the confidence that she could do anything and everything just as well as her sighted brother. This meant attending public school in Marin, going to college, and rejecting the idea that she had to operate at a slower pace because of her vision.
That’s why, when she enrolled in the LightHouse’s Employment Immersion program, she felt like she had found her people. She positively related to her fellow classmates’ ambitions, even though some were much older or had been in the workforce for much longer. “I really liked the people a lot,” she said, “Everyone was so articulate and we all got along really well. Our conversations were always good, never full of silence or awkwardness — everyone was engaged.”
The LightHouse Employment Immersion program has a reputation for fostering this kind of engagement and that’s what compelled Community Action Marin’s Mental Health Program, who sought to hire Olivia as a counsellor, to recommend the LightHouse program. With the guidance of Sylvia Oberti, Olivia’s DOR counsellor, they identified that Olivia, relatively new to the workforce, might benefit from Employment Immersion’s wide-ranging curriculum, to bolster not only her initial hiring but her continuous employment.
Olivia told us, “We learned about resume writing and job searching and networking. I didn’t realize all the different ways there are to look for jobs — from online job boards to word of mouth and more — things I hadn’t thought about before. Finding work is a lot more complicated than I expected. It almost seems like [Employment Immersion] is a course anybody should take, not just blind people.”
Focusing on peer crisis counseling and planning, Olivia works in what she calls the “intense” mental health treatment environment of Community Action Marin. The LightHouse Employment Immersion program has helped prepare her for a variety of workplace dynamics and situations. “It has given me a better idea of how different work environments function.”
Are you new to the working world and not sure how to get started? Or do you just want to kick your career up a notch? The next Employment Immersion session will run every Tuesday and Thursday from Tuesday, October 27 through Thursday, November 19 at the LightHouse office at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. For more information, please contact Kate Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-694-7324.