Victor was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis in 1986, when he was barely a year old. He received no assistance throughout high school or college on how to manage this physically restrictive disease, which also sidelined him from the job market early on. When a major surgical operation was required to keep him alive, Victor needed three years to fully recover, and now, at age 29, he has little to no official work experience. This life changing surgery made Victor even more passionate about finding a worthwhile career as a means to support himself, and his experience as an Expandability client makes him feel positive that he will achieve his employment goals.
Victor is a client of one of Expandability’s Employment Specialists, Deb Hanson. He was connected with Deb by the Department of Rehab in the beginning of summer, and has been her client for about three months. Deb has encouraged Victor to see volunteering as viable experience to include on his résumé, and has been able to highlight Victor’s unique skills in an appealing way for potential employers. Their job search focuses on finding work that is physically amenable for Victor, as well as being nearer to home so that the commute remains manageable. In less than two months time, Deb and Victor were able to overhaul his résumé, write a cover letter, and create a portfolio that Victor feels proud of. He says Deb is extremely helpful, and he is always impressed by her ability to get things done quickly.
He was especially impressed by Deb’s dedication to Victor having the necessary tools for success; he tells a story of when he was first writing his résumé using Open Office because he couldn’t afford Microsoft Office software. When sending files back and forth to Deb, his document’s formatting continued to change because his software didn’t match what Deb was using. Within the week, Victor received Microsoft Word from the Department of Rehab, at Deb’s insistence that he needed it in order to move forward in his job search. The software also has an improved voice-recognition program that Victor can utilize to assist him in creating longer documents when typing becomes too difficult. The speed in which Deb made this software available to him shocked Victor, and he says that this was a fantastic improvement that he wouldn’t have had without Deb’s and Expandability’s, help.
Victor feels confident that with Deb’s continued guidance he will soon find work that he can excel at. Because of her encouragement and willingness to think outside ofthe box, Victor says that his résumé before working with Deb and his résumé now are two totally different things. He is excited to see what new opportunities become available to him now that he has a competitive portfolio and the computer programs he needs to succeed, and Victor is grateful to Expandability for all of their support.