IT’S NEVER TOO LATE
Matt used to have a job in the community. When it ended, he thought he would get another, but before he knew it, ten years went by. During that time, he mostly stayed at home and played video games. He became sedentary, and his health suffered.
Then, in 2021, Matt decided to return to work. He was connected with Boone Center. He enjoyed his interview and was hired under the Organizational Employment program. The first weeks were hard. Due to years of inactivity, he struggled to keep up as he worked the production line, even while seated. Occasionally, he got winded, and his heart felt like it would pound out of his chest—but his Employment Support Specialist was with him every step of the way, and he did not give up!
Day after day, he kept challenging his body and mind. Eventually, it became easier to work the six-hour shift. And as his activity level increased, he lost weight. He found himself able to do more. He also found new friends. And in January 2022, he was named an Employee of the Month.
Matt continues to demonstrate incredible commitment and strength. When others might have given up, he stayed the course. Wherever life takes him next, he will remember that he can do anything he sets his mind to.
Rachel has seen a lot of changes over her years with BCI. Her experience on the production floor dates back to 2013 when she was exploring employment through the old school-to-work program.
After graduating from high school in 2016, Rachel became a BCI employee but was actually working competitively with support in a local business. She was a hard worker but exhibited some challenges that required additional staff support.
Then, in 2020 as BCI changed up its programming to launch the employment continuum, Rachel was given the option to explore and secure a different competitive job outside of BCI or continue working at BCI under the organizational employment program. She opted to stay and has since blossomed.
Some of Rachel’s growth can be attributed to the maturity that comes with age. However, there were other factors too including the peer group she has built. Regular interaction with work friends has given Rachel the confidence to overcome her earlier challenges. She has found her niche! She works independently, has won the Employee of the Month award twice, joined the advanced worker group (working 36.5 hours a week and qualifying for full benefits), and was female Employee of the Year in 2021.
ready for what’s next
Tiffany (right) worked at BCI from 2009 to 2022. As many former employees do, she came back to visit her old friends and share where she is now.
When she left BCI after 13 years, Tiffany felt confident she was ready for competitive employment. She wanted an independent life in a new community. After a move to South County and a few twists and turns in her job search, she landed with a major retailer—and it’s been going really well.
She shared, “It was because of all my BCI work experience that I have become so successful here. I am the fastest person in the apparel department, tagging and labeling items, just like you guys taught me. I can tag 7,000 items a day! Because I have done so well, they are training me on the PA system, phones, and walkie-talkies. When I first started, they had me breaking down boxes, which I was super familiar with doing from BCI. You guys also taught me to be a team player. Because of that, I cheer so many people up at work. The supervisors are also thankful for how organized I am. I always arrive to work on time and give at least two weeks’ notice for days that I take off.”
Tiffany’s next goal is to move to Iowa in a few years and get involved in their historical society. She said, “Now that I have my driver’s license, I can still visit BCI even after moving since it’s only four hours away.”