After several years in a good-paying job that he enjoyed, Rod experienced a serious medical emergency and found himself no longer able to work. After many months spent undergoing and recovering from medical treatments, Rod was ready to work again, but struggled to find a job.
He was accepted into Easterseals-Goodwill’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and began working with our employment specialist, Jen. The goal was to help Rod expand his job skills and try out some different training assignments in order to increase his opportunities for landing a new job.
While Rod was making strides in his physical healing, he was also experiencing depression and anxiety resulting from all that he’d been through medically and financially over the course of his illness. “Jen understood my situation and was very patient with me,” Rod explained.
His first training assignment proved too physically demanding, so Jen helped locate another position that better suited him. The pandemic hit about that time, and Rod’s depression increased. “The harder I fought to find a way to make things better, the farther I slipped into depression. The only thing keeping me going was the (SCSEP) training assignment, and Jen listening to and understanding my frustration and depression.” With Jen’s encouragement and his commitment to making it to his training assignment each day, Rod bravely persevered.
During the pandemic Rod discovered leatherworking and dove into learning the skills involved. After making some pieces and selling them, he decided to try making leatherworking a business. “I showed Jen what I had been doing and after discussing it with her, I was able to use some of the time I was spending on developing the business towards my training hours,” Rod said.
After growing stronger both physically and mentally while completing a third training assignment, Rod learned of an assistant position opening in our Salt Lake City SCSEP office. Jen encouraged Rod to apply and he was hired. “Right away I liked the position even though I had a lot to learn about what the job entailed.”
Rod’s leatherworking business was becoming more established as well and his depression was lifting. “Between time spent at my training assignment, my time at the SCSEP office and my successful leather venture, I finally had a light shining at the end of the tunnel of depression and despair that I had been in for so long.”
When a full-time position as a SCSEP employment specialist became available, Jen again encouraged Rod to apply. “I made it through the interview and screening process, and for the first time in a very long time, I actually felt good about the future,” he said.
Rod started in his new position in September of 2021 and is doing very well. “I think that if there was an example of the success of this program, I am living proof of the results achieved by those who are dedicated and passionate about their roles in the lives of their participants.”
“I am deeply grateful to Easterseals-Goodwill’s SCSEP program and especially Jennifer for helping me through the very darkest time of my life, and giving me this unbelievable opportunity to help others as I am strong enough to do now.”