Transitioning to Community Employment

From left to right: Amanda Dunnick, Mid-Iowa Workshops Job Coach; Rhonda Draisey, IVRS Counselor-Marshalltown; Tammy McAnulty, DHS Case Manager, employee Julie Propp, and Keisha, Kwik Star Manager-Store #706.

IVRS has placed 20 individuals with significant disabilities in Iowa in modified "retail helper" jobs. Kwik Star sees a need for these modified jobs; it allows necessary work to be completed while freeing up time for guest services staff to focus on customers. Kwik Star/ Trip is known for, and takes pride in, their responsiveness to guests - the retail helper position makes this happen.

VR counselor Rhonda Draisey, in our Marshalltown service unit worked with Julie to gain employment.

"Prior to obtaining this job as a retail helper, our job candidate was working in a sheltered workshop, and had been for a number of years. She is 57 years old and had NEVER worked in competitive community employment," Draisey said.

Julie decided she would like to work at Wirk Star and approached the staff there herself. Once her employment goal stated, Rhonda worked with Julie and the staff at Kwik Star to make sure that Julie would be successful in her new position.

Since getting the Retail Helper job with Kwik Star, Julie no longer works in a sheltered workshop.

The partnership was so successful that Julie recently traveled to Washington DC to speak at a congressional briefing about her experience working at Kwik Star.