Woman’s Visual Impairment Doesn’t Hinder Motivation to Work

Jessica, 21 of Lincoln, was ready to do more. She had jobs bussing tables or washing dishes, but she wanted to work with people and expand on her skills in food service.

Thanks to a job fair at Center for People in Need, Jessica got that opportunity when she was hired by Hy-Vee to prepare pizza and pasta for their Italian Express menu.

“Jessica had a vast amount of food service experience along with the desire to work,” said Julie Wolfgram, Human Resource Manager at Superior Hy-Vee on 27th St. “She will definitely be an asset in the Italian department as a clerk.”

The job fair is one of many coordinated by EmployLNK, a task force that includes Bryan Seck, Employment Skills Developer for Prosper Lincoln. Job fairs like this are designed to help people gain access to skilled, in-demand jobs and fill in-demand positions.

Jessica attended the job fair on a field trip with other students for a class offered through the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

“The timing was right,” Jessica said. “I wanted an opportunity to try something new.”

Counselors at the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired helped her fill out the online job application and helped her prepare for the interview. They are working with Hy-Vee and Jessica to make accommodations for her disability. The Commission provides a job coach to oversee her work while she improves her speed and accuracy. A magnifier allows her to better perform her tasks.

“I have a lot more positivity and motivation in my life,” Jessica said. “It encourages me to get out and talk to people.”

Wolfgram finds the career fairs organized by EmployLNK to be a helpful recruiting tool. “It gives us an opportunity to meet one-on-one with members of the community that may not have thought of Hy-Vee as an employment opportunity,” she said. “We have numerous departments to work in, all of which require a helpful smile, but a skill set that can accommodate a vast variety of potential employees.”