When Nolan was just starting out as a young college graduate, his hopes and dreams were similar to his peers: he wanted to find a job where he could do something he loved, and where he could be a part of a community. He also wanted to earn a paycheck.
Getting that first job out of college can be tough for anyone. But for someone who has a disability, it’s that much harder. Even for those lucky enough to find work, many of the opportunities available are volunteer positions or internships.
Thanks to support from CJP, Nolan didn’t have to face this challenge alone. Last summer, he was accepted into CJP’s Transitions to Work program, which is made possible in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation and Jewish Vocational Service (JVS). Nolan says that for him, Transitions has made all the difference.
He joined the first class of Transitions to Work trainees at Whole Foods, working on site to learn important customer service skills and how to communicate with his boss and co-workers.
“I was very proud to graduate from this program, but I hadn’t achieved my goal yet. I still needed a job,” remembers Nolan.
With support from JVS professionals, Nolan applied for a wide range of jobs and ended up with two part-time offers.
“I love working with kids, so I am happy that one of my jobs is at the elementary school where I went as a young kid. As a part of the afterschool program staff, I help coordinate drop-offs and pick-ups, and keep the kids occupied on the playground. I know just about everyone there, and they know me,” says Nolan.
The staff at the school has encouraged Nolan to incorporate his fascination with weather into his job, and every day he posts a local weather report for parents and kids. Nolan’s second job is at the Boston Children’s Museum, where he makes sure that kids are having a good time and that the exhibits are clean and safe.
“It’s a great feeling to go to work each day and know that I fit in, and that my work is helping someone else,” he says.
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