West Bay RI’s JOLT participants have been learning together and experiencing great successes since the launch of the program in September. JOLT is made possible by West Bay RI’s partnership with the Department of Labor and Training (DLT), creating a supportive learning environment for individuals who have experienced barriers to employment. JOLT has brought together people with self-directed supports who have varying experiences and skill sets, but all have similar goals of finding employment through growth of their personal network and by contributing to their community.
The cohort meets for 5 hours each week for 12 weeks to build and develop networking skills, while learning from people in the community from various backgrounds and employment positions. Some of the activities the participants have taken part in so far include resume writing and editing, working with computers, mock interviews, personal value development, working with Human Resource representatives, and learning about employment opportunities from representatives of local businesses.
80% of the first cohort participants have found employment. One great example is a participant who has discovered her true passion in event planning through her new position with Advantage Solutions working at BJ’s Wholesale. Her peers in the JOLT program have supported her to sustain employment by trouble-shooting issues as she experiences them on the job, and collaboratively identifying potential solutions to move forward with her plans. They have collectively helped her learn how to advocate for herself. The program has boosted her confidence to ask for a mat to stand on, an accommodation she needed, as her job requires being on her feet for many hours.