Jessica Loves Her Self-Determined Life

Date: 08/01/2017

Many Project SEARCH interns secure employment before their final internship is completed, but Jessica’s dream job didn’t come along until several months after she graduated from Project SEARCH. 

Vocational Rehabilitation provided funding for one of their vendors, JobLink, to develop the right job for Jessica at Home Depot.  Jessica works 26 hours a week at Home Depot as a customer service representative and loves her job. She’s received commendations.

In addition to working at Home Depot in the evenings and on weekends, Jessica also wanted to participate in day services because she needed personal supports during the day and she felt she could be a successful role model for her peers.

This presented a challenge as Jessica’s support network included three agencies that provided services to her – her host home provider, her day and employment service provider, and her personal care assistance provider. Equitable distribution of Jessica’s Medicaid funding was a concern for all involved, and Vocational Rehabilitation was in the process declaring a successful case closure so that funding would soon end.

Melissa Canon-Smith, Cenpatico Behavioral Care Coordinator, scheduled a meeting with Jessica’s support network to address how Jessica’s preferred lifestyle would be maintained.

Melissa did not have much experience with employment, so she brought in Shelly May, Employment/Day LifeShare Pathways Facilitator, to consult with the team. Melissa and Shelly met with the team, collected additional information and then met with the directors of each program the following morning to outline an agreement that was fair and amenable to all agencies. In addition to traditional Medicaid funding, Shelly also shared information on Social Security work incentives that Jessica could take advantage of to cover work-related expenses.

Some of Jessica’s team members initially expressed concerns with her demanding schedule to work six days per week. But many months later Jessica continues to be successful on the job, at day services, and at home. She is loving her self-determined life!