We all go through life hoping to find our dream job, and if we're lucky, we might just find it. Dakota, a young man with autism and a cognitive disability, found his dream job through the Power of Work.
Since Dakota was seven years old, he has wanted to work at a library – to feel connected to the books and stories that take him to another place. Hoping to help her son achieve his dream, Dakota’s mom, Sandy, reached out to Goodwill EmpowerOne and shared his hopes and aspirations with Goodwill job coaches. Through EmpowerOne, individuals with disabilities build the skills and independence needed to be successful both in employment and their community.
Looking to build his resume, Dakota was referred to Goodwill’s Supported Employment services, which are funded through the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). Through DVR, Dakota worked one-on-one with a vocational counselor who worked collaboratively with him to develop his individualized plan. The plan included various services to help prepare him for employment in the community. One of Dakota’s first work experiences took place at a Goodwill Attended Donation Center (ADC), where he assisted with handling customer donations. The job gave him a chance to practice
While still working at the Goodwill ADC, Dakota had a successful work trial at the Waterford Public Library, where he was then hired as a Library Assistant. He diligently puts books and movies away using the Dewy Decimal System. Dakota is a natural at his job and rarely makes a mistake. He comes to work smiling and motivated to contribute to the success of the library, and coworkers enjoy having Dakota on their team because of his great work ethic and contributions he makes to the library team.
Since working in the community, friends and family members have remarked how well Dakota communicates – sharing stories, joking and enjoying meaningful conversations. Impressed with Dakota’s job performance, surrounding libraries have shown an interest in other Goodwill EmpowerOne candidates. Landing his dream job has proven to Dakota that he can set a goal and achieve it. In the future, Dakota hopes to live on his own and knows with hard work and believing in himself, he can do anything.
“If Goodwill found me a job, then Goodwill can help you find one too.” – Dakota
“They believe in me and that makes me feel good.” – Dakota