For over 2 decades Sid Jackson had a successful career in food service management. He loved every aspect of his job, especially selecting the right employees for his team. And, as Sid will tell you, that team always included employees with disabilities.
"The employees with disabilities that I hired were always very reliable and dependable and never had any complaints. I could always count on them to get the job done. I always worked with the staff at the Department of Human Services Division of Rehabilitation and their community partners to find candidates with disabilities". Sid is also close to his nephew who has Down Syndrome. He said that their relationship also made him want to reach out and help others with disabilities.
More recently, complications from Diabetes resulted in Sid having a severe infection in his foot. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with Stage 3 Kidney Failure. These disabilities left Sid unable to continue his same employment. Suddenly Sid went from being the employer to needing employment. Lucky for Sid he knew that DRS specializes in helping individuals with disabilities secure employment. He made the phone call to DRS immediately and was connected with Senior Rehabilitation Counselor Janet Ernst.
"Janet was great. She never gave up on me. She tried to match my skills with the right employer". Sid admits the road to employment wasn't easy and involved many rejections. "I got frustrated. I knew I could do the work at the places I interviewed at. I just kept thinking, why wouldn't they hire me"?
After many interviews, Janet found out about an employment opportunity with HRC East Workshop in Clinton, Il. for a Developmental Trainer. The position would offer Sid the ability to apply his past skills of training while working with individuals with disabilities who sort merchandise donated for resale at Encore Thrift Store. Sid was assessed on the job for a few weeks and was then offered the job. His scheduled was made flexible enough so that he could also take care of his wife who has cancer.
Sid is very appreciative of the assistance provided through DRS Senior Counselor Janet Ernst. He says that there are jobs that pay more, but for him success is measured much differently now. Says Sid, "when I go in to work I get smiles and waves every day. I see people who open up more and more every day that goes by. How do you put a price on that? It's the best job I have ever had".
To persons with disabilities Sid says, "I sat at home for a while not working, not sure what I would do. I had to start seeing and believing what I could do. DRS helped me get there". To employers, Sid says, "If you have hiring needs, work with DRS. They will find the best applicants to fill your positions". And Sid should know.