Self-Employment: Em’s Coffee Company

Photograph of Em Lantz wearing a shirt that reads "Eat Your Heart Out Starbucks!"

Emilea, a vibrant young woman with an infectious personality, is the owner of Em’s Coffee Co At birth, doctors told her mom that Em would never walk, talk or feed herself due to a condition called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum – the absence of nerve tissue connecting the right and left sides of her brain. Despite their predictions, Em graduated from high school, where she had the opportunity to build work experience starting her freshman year. Gaining entry-level work experience as a young teenager helped strengthen Em’s expectations and desire to work. After high school, Em started working in a sheltered workshop – the only option available in her small town – where she earned well below the minimum wage for two years. Em was unhappy.

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Customized Employment: Brian’s Story

Photograph of Brian and Jackie posing with one dog

Brian had recently transitioned from high-school and was looking to start his career He had worked in a grocery store and a department store, but neither job excited him. When Jackie, his employment specialist, asked him if he wanted to participate in a Customized Employment process that could lead to a job that matched his interests, Brian responded enthusiastically. Jackie began Brian’s Discovery process by spending time with him in activities that focused on his skills and interests. Together, they formed an Employment Team that would support his career transition. The team included his grandmother, father, mother, former high school teacher, neighbor, and vocational rehabilitation counselor. In getting to know Brian, Jackie soon discovered his passion for and considerable skills in handling animals, particularly dogs.

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Combining Benefits and Work Incentives: Simone Renee’s Story

Portrait photograph of Simone Renee Moore

Twenty-nine-year-old Simone Renee has a love for fashion and beauty Her goal after high school was to become a nail technician Something she accomplished by completing a training program before being hired by a local salon. While Simone Renee loves her current job, she aspires to become a licensed esthetician. As an esthetician, she’d be qualified to perform higher-revenue salon services, including facials, skin care treatments, hair removal, and make-up applications. She could also work more hours at the salon as her career grew and advanced. “I want to do more with my career. I want to become an Esthetician and learn to do makeup. I can be successful with help from PASS and IDA.

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