Employed but unhappy with her retail job and the long commute from her home, Sara contacted Network 180 for assistance with finding a new job. Network 180 referred Sara to Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids and she was enrolled in the Visions Program. As Goodwill’s supported employment program, Visions assists individuals with developmental disabilities or cognitive impairments prepare for, find, and maintain competitive and integrated employment.

Sara had two main goals while working with her Goodwill career coach; find a job that fits her skills and interests and obtain employment closer to home. While exploring careers options, interests, skills, and experience, it was identified that a cleaning position could be a good fit. In Cedar Springs, where Sara lives, there are limited employers in the area, therefore to tackle Sara’s other goal of finding a job close to home, her career coach worked hard to build relationships with local employers.

While searching for opportunities and developing relationships, Sara was able to secure an interview with Grand Rapids Building Services as a janitor for Cedar Springs Middle School. Sara’s career coach attended the interview to help advocate for her. Sara was hired for the job with her primary responsibility to keep the floors clean by vacuuming and mopping.

Sara learned how to use the floor scrubber and used teamwork skills to assist co-workers in trash removal and other special assignments. Sara received job coaching support when learning a new type of vacuum or if there was a change in her routine. She also received job coaching on practicing social skills to ask her manager for a change in hours, shifts, or any other questions she might have. As time went on, Sara was excelling in her job and her case was successfully closed with Goodwill.

About a year later, Sara was laid off from her job due to COVID -19. Unsure of what to do, she reached out to her career coach, and her case was reopened with Goodwill. Sara’s career coach helped her navigate communicating with her employer, who required a new application to be completed in order to be rehired. Sara was able to be rehired for the same position, at the same location. This was very exciting for Sara as she loved her job. After a few monthly check-ins with her career coach, Sara was ready to successfully close her case for a second time.