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by Christen Conrad and Carol Rydell

Before coming to Kaposia, Katie’s only work experience was in a center-based program. Now, Katie has a new job working for Festivities, a go-to company for customers planning special events. She works in a warehouse filled with beautiful linens, lighting, and other items rented out for weddings and other special occasions–at a wage three times more than before.

Katie’s interests were narrowly-focused for the Discovery job search process. Katie also had a number of ideal conditions that would need to be met in a new job. She would be more successful working in the morning and having a short shift. Also, Katie is shy and often shuts down around people she doesn’t know. She would need a predictable group of people to interact with.

Katie had clear strengths to build on. She is very consistent in her work in addition to being reliable and patient. She prefers repetitive tasks in which consistency and attention to detail are valued. Despite her shyness, she has some great social skills. She loves people once she gets to know them and often compliments them. One of Katie’s themes is making people happy. Another main theme is paper. Katie can spend hours making lanterns from the pages of phone books and collecting photographs and pictures from magazines.

Informational interviews often lead in a direction that is unexpected. That was the case with Katie. A number of possibilities led to dead-ends, but at one interview, folding napkins for an event planner was a suggestion that led to further exploration. Katie learned to fold napkins into a variety of interesting shapes using the internet. Her newly expressed love of weddings seemed like a natural fit for a company that helped plan for a couple’s special day.

A visit to Festivities was like walking into the perfect setting. Katie was able to meet one-on-one with an employee on the laundry crew. She followed a number of steps to fold linens the way they wanted perfectly, and it was clear they needed help getting all their work done. Katie was offered a job and was working by the end of the month. As an added bonus, there are three women there who have taken Katie under their wing and taught her the routines she needs to be successful.

Having a job has boosted Katie’s confidence. On any given day, you can catch her smiling. She’s saving for a laptop computer and looking forward to the annual party for which Festivities makes paper lanterns. It’s one of her specialties.