Close collaboration between the College Steps program and Lamoille County Mental Health Services have helped Eric successfully graduate from Northern University’s Johnson campus with the skills needed for self-sufficiency both in the workforce and to live independently.
Eric enrolled in College Steps, a campus-based academic support service. When it was time for Eric to do an internship as part of his college plan, Waterbury’s Stowe Street Cafe brought him on board where he started in the kitchen and worked the front of the café. College Steps staff, the café owner, and Eric worked together in shaping opportunities for him not only to learn job duties but to also the soft skills all employees need.
Eric graduated from Northern University with a Certificate of Higher Learning. Eric’s increased confidence and social skills acquired during his two years in College Steps resulted in his becoming employed at the Green Goddess Café in Stowe. Work at this popular spot was challenging at first, as busy lunches and large crowds could be overwhelming.
College Steps and Lamoille County Mental Health’s Supported Employment staff assisted the owners and Eric in problem solving both on and off the job. Job support was helpful, but Eric’s growth and success arose largely from his own determination to do well at the Green Goddess. Eric accomplished this by using the problem solving and social skills he learned during college. The owners say Eric is hard working and are glad to call him their employee.
Eric’s home provider and service coordinator worked in unison to assist Eric to continue his journey and accomplish his dreams for employment, his own apartment and further education.
Eric has kept his dreams alive by enrolling at Community College of Vermont while maintaining his job at the Green Goddess. Eric’s evolution has enabled him to sustain his college studies using only natural supports, while living independently in his own apartment. The culmination of Eric’s hard work, perseverance, and long-term vision will be his graduation this spring when he receives his Associate degree.
Eric’s response to his progress and accomplishments? “You can’t begin to fathom how much hard work, perseverance, and a little help from the people around you can really pay off in the end… because in the end, the payoff from overcoming your own obstacles leading up to this point weighs as much as all the gold in Fort Knox.”