Along with serious health concerns, the COVID-19 crisis created a disastrous situation for Massachusetts employers and workers alike. And the new uncertainty was especially acute for individuals with disabilities who had been actively seeking jobs though Riverside Employment Collaboratives and our partner workforce development agencies. Finding the right fit for individuals with disabilities with employers who are eager to hire them – companies like CVS, Home Depot, and hundreds of others – is a process that relies heavily upon in-person contact. Traditionally, Riverside employment specialists meet with job-seekers to help them work through the application process, offer interview tips and set up practice sessions, and help organize and manage their work schedules once they land the job.
So what happens when the unfortunate set of circumstances we live and work in today throws this process into turmoil?
Well, as Riverside’s Heather Mantell and Viability’s Liz Billilo learned, where there’s a will – along with a phone and a computer – there’s a way!
While working from home, Liz heard about the perfect job for client Josh at CVS. She contacted Heather Mantell at Riverside, and through our relationship with Jonathan DaSilva, Workforce Initiatives Advisor for CVS Health, and Riverside’s familiarity with their application and assessment process, with just a few adjustments all the pieces quickly came together. Since his interview would now be conducted by phone rather than in person, Liz was able to lead Josh through a practice interview over the phone, which went very well. And with a little help, all of his hiring paperwork was completed and submitted online.
Jonathan has said that, “Riverside and the Regional Employment Collaboratives serve as my chaos management department. From an engagement standpoint and a team impact standpoint it’s a big win for us.”
And a big win for Josh, who is now enjoying his new position as Store Associate at CVS. His manager reports that he is a diligent and helpful employee. Josh has overcome his shyness to the degree that he can successfully work the check-out register – proving himself that, once again, where there’s a will, there’s a way!