Bright Futures & Jobs for People: People for Jobs

Clara Martin Center
Youth & Adult Vocational Services

September 2023

This past quarter JOBS and CRT has seen some changes, and one change of noteworthy significance. Recently, our wonderful and dedicated supervisor, Holly Benoir, retired from the Clara Martin Center. Her leadership and expertise in the field of vocational support had set a remarkable standard for how we integrate employment support with our clients. During our last Coordinators meeting, I had the opportunity to hear how Holly impacted supported employment among other supervisors at their designated agencies across the State of VT. “A job well done”, one member said, while another stated, “I would not have made it this far without your mentorship and guidance”. Holly’s person-centered approach, mixed with the clinical techniques of Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R), created a broader perspective on how we serve clients participating in supported employment, and how we build relationships with our community partners – now and into the future.

This got me thinking about how we are supporting change with the clients that we are serving. This past quarter we had a client who had a wonderful interview with a local bakery, they were offered a job on the spot, and within a week they started at the bakery. However, after 3-shifts, this client was asked to stay home because something within the organization changed to nobody’s anticipation – a technical issue. This was entirely out of everybody’s control. This client and JOBS staff worked on skill-building, self-advocacy, and communication techniques. After meeting HR, this client successfully advocated for a temporary position while the original position was being worked out. HR appreciated the client’s professionalism and motivation to keep moving ahead, and they worked out an alternative position that felt comfortable for everyone.

Viktor Frankl once said, “[that] when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”. Sometimes there will be circumstances that require adaption. Sometimes the circumstance will require acceptance. Sometimes contentment. Sometimes there is nothing we can do. And sometimes there may whole slew of other feelings involved that can or cannot be named or changed. However, our perceptions can change and ultimately life continues to move forward. When I introduce myself as the Vocational Coordinator for the Clara Martin Center, I often hear these wonderful stories of Holly and the relationships she has created with employers around the community. Employers remember these moments and the feelings they carry when our staff walk into their buildings.

Clara Martin Center is better because of these community relationships. We are better as people, and our supported employment programs continue to grow because of these formed relationships. Clara Martin Center is all about building relationships and growing together as a community – in partnership with one another. This reminds me to pause, take a deep breath, be in the moment, and enjoy the relationships that are being crafted. Whether looking behind or looking ahead, you never know whose lives will be touched along the way. Here’s to the embracement of change.

Submitted by Jesse Lawrence, Vocational Coordinator for JOBS and CRT