Peter’s employment success

March 26, 2018

By John Irwin, Employment Specialist

Peter works as a food server for the on-site restaurant company Bon Appétit in a cafeteria on the campus of Macalester College. Peter started working in the cafeteria when Opportunity Partners opened a Supported Employment Team (SET) site there in 2015. He made such an impression on management that he was invited to stay on as a Bon Appétit employee when the SET site contract ended in 2016. Peter recently celebrated two years of competitive employment with Bon Appétit. There have been some ups and downs, but with the support of his coworkers, his wife and Opportunity Partners, Peter has shown that he has what it takes to be successful.

Peter has lived with a brain injury since 1999. He started with Opportunity Partners – Brain Injury Services in 2006. The path that Peter took to competitive employment began with him working on our production floor and volunteering as a substitute worker for SET sites. Peter proved to be a punctual and capable worker who got along well with staff and peers. The only thing holding Peter back from competitive employment was the lack of several soft skills needed to help obtain and keep a job.

Working at various Opportunity Partners SET sites gave Peter a chance to strengthen and sharpen his soft skills. Mainly performing janitorial tasks, Peter gradually transitioned to sites where he was required to demonstrate his ability to display his grasp of the soft skills he had been practicing. In 2015, when Opportunity Partners was looking for people to work at the SET site at Macalester, Peter decided that he was ready to jump into the middle of the action as a server.

Peter enjoys his job and takes pride in his work. Over the past two years, he has worked at the different food stations in the cafeteria with multiple chefs. He starts every shift ready to greet customers warmly and professionally and serve them the appropriate portion of the food they request. After his serving duties, he helps clean the dining area along with the rest of the servers.

While it was Peter’s performance that earned him his job, he has had some assistance in retaining his position. Along with arranging Peter’s transportation and helping him with his schedule, Peter’s wife Cathleen provides a great deal of encouragement and support at home. Peter is fortunate to have coworkers who have shown him the ropes and continue to offer reminders and tips. Opportunity Partners has been alongside Peter making sure that he is always thinking about the soft skills that he needs to exhibit on a daily basis to provide quality customer service.

Peter has worked hard to get to where he is today. He is capable of carrying most of the weight of his job on his own, but he also benefits from natural and formal support from coworkers, his wife, and Opportunity Partners. Peter has a brain injury, but he has not let that prevent him from being successful.