Isaiah wants to become a wolf biologist one day, and ProAct is helping the young man to take the early career and education steps to start working, and refine his goals.
“He wanted a job that involved animals, in particular with dogs,” said ProAct Employment Specialist Cindy Besonnie. Meeting remotely, she assisted with his resume, taught him job seeking skills and together they pursued employment.
Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Placement Coordinator Heather Lindgren said Isaiah, who lives in Shakopee, gained paid work experiences at a movie theater, in retail and at a doggie day care.
Persistence to do what he enjoys
An interview at the first pet facility revealed that it was not a good fit, but he continued on. “He grew in confidence,” she said.
Isaiah’s mother helped make the connection to the Shakopee facility after taking a field trip there. He and Besonnie approached the owner to inquire about a Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) paid-work experience.
In addition to clean up duties, he entertains the dogs, helps them to interact well together and sets up rest areas for the animals where he changes blankets as needed, Besonnie explains. His enjoyment comes from being able to provide a safe place for the dogs and the work is relaxing, she said.
Door opens for job
Before his second shift ended, and the last day of his Pre-ETS, FurChilds owner Janelle Pumper offered him a part-time job working with the canines. Positive reports have flowed in from both the employee and management.
“Cindy from ProAct facilitates all the experiences and this led to his success, giving him the opportunity to further grow his interests in dogs and other animals in an employer paid position,” said Lindgren.
With the immediate job covered, Isaiah is taking advantage of ProAct’s Post-Secondary Counseling services to reassess his long-term goals, said Besonnie. Since working with dogs, he’s opened up to other career options, she said, including dog training and grooming. He’ll be a high school senior this fall.