During these challenging economic times, it is always inspiring to hear stories about people going to work in our community. At Ohio Valley Goodwill, putting people to work has been part of our mission of service for more than 96 years. Goodwill’s Job Development and Placement Services provides individualized on-going support to job-seekers and local employers. Goodwill’s Employment Consultants keep current on labor market information and hiring trends to assist individuals working to obtain community jobs. Under the leadership of Employment Services Manager, Marty Caffrey, Goodwill’s Job Development and Placement Services department recently received recognition of its employment efforts through the Southwest Ohio Rehabilitation Association. Named the “Rehabilitation Program of the Year,” Goodwill’s Placement Services department was singled out for its innovative approaches to helping people get jobs in the community. Uniquely, at Ohio Valley Goodwill, the Placement department uses a model that pairs Case Managers and Marketers. “Case Managers traditionally focus on the job seeker and the referral source. In our model, Marketers focus on the employer and community relations,” explains Katie Stretch, Employment Services Marketer. After 18 years of living with her brother who had a disability, Katie’s commitment to her role comes quite honestly. “I had planned a career in Political Science but when I lost my brother, my whole life changed,” said Katie. “It compelled me to work in the human service field and help others,” added Katie. The ultimate goal of the Marketers is to contact employers to advocate on behalf of the job seekers and help them to identify employment opportunities. “Our focus is always to build relationships with employers that will benefit the people that we serve,” explains Matt Burnheimer, the newest member of Goodwill’s Placement team. Like Katie, Matt also has an affinity for working on behalf of people with disabilities. As a career-long Special Education teacher, Matt’s mom and family members helped to inspire his current career direction. “As a Case Manager, our role is to help people to identify opportunities, develop their resume, complete applications and work closely with sponsoring agencies like the Rehabilitation Services Commission,” said Katie Towns, Case Manager. Katie, like the other Goodwill Case Managers, have lots of stories about the individuals they work with. In particular, she recently helped a graduate from a Goodwill training program develop a resume, practice for his job interview and actually obtain the position that he really wanted. “Helping people find the job they really want makes it all worthwhile,” said Katie. Another Goodwill Placement Case Manager, Hilary Hardin, also finds herself in a career situation that is in alignment with her beliefs and convictions. Growing up in a family where disability awareness and sensitivity has always been paramount, Hilary felt a natural passion towards advocating on behalf of community inclusion. “Our goal is to never allow a person’s disability to define them. We do our best to focus on the individual’s abilities and interests in developing a job in partnership with them,” explained Hardin. “It’s all about helping people to find the right situation for them,” said Marty Caffrey, Employment Services Manager. “We work with both the employer and the individual to make sure that the match works for both of them,” added Caffrey. Among the many services that the Job Development and Placement department can provide are assistance and training in resume development and job seeking skills; help with interview attire and transportation as needed as well as helping individuals with discussing appropriate job accommodations. As part of an individualized employment search, Employment Consultants offer support in contacting employers to discuss job re-structuring and once employment is obtained, retention services. Retention services are intended to assist individuals with any post-employment needs such as effective time management, employee/employer communication, and securing additional community resources to ensure successful employment for individuals. Individuals interested in Goodwill’s Job Development and Placement Services are typically referred by the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission, Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, County Boards of Developmental Disabilities and Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program. For more information about Ohio Valley Goodwill’s Job Placement Services, please contact Marty Caffrey, Employment Services Manager at (513) 771-4800, ext. 6239 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.