Personal growth and successful Panera job bring independence

A tremendous growth in confidence and a new job at Panera Bread in Burnsville are the fruits of Michelle Bodurtha’s labor, explains ProAct employment specialist Chandra Wigfield.

“She should be very proud of herself,” said Wigfield, who helped her to break down job duties into weekly goals to reach her long-term desire to work independently.

Bodurtha’s vocational experiences began in 2015 via group employment (enclave) services at ProAct. Over a five-year span, she worked at a number of sites, building her skill-sets as she progressed.  With this broad base of work skills, she was able to obtain employment washing dishes at Panera.

“Michelle really enjoys working at Panera as she has met some really nice people and likes the food,” said her father, Dave Bodurtha. “We really appreciate the work you put in helping her find a job.”

The ProAct participant and employment specialist met weekly to work on identifying what was going to be the best fit for her job. They also worked on job skills, interviewing prep, and more. After Bodurtha was hired, at first she received job coaching for entire shifts.

“Michelle showed up, eager to learn duties as she grew as an employee each week,” said Wigfield. Then, with 90 days of coaching supports under her belt, Bodurtha was an independent success with check-ins twice a month.