Project HIRED recently had an open house to showcase the work and their services available for the disabled community. PNP Blogger, Nick Struthers, took advantage of the free breakfast to meet and chat with the some of the personnel in the organization.
As part of my own education in understanding what services are out there for the disabled community, I jumped at the chance to visit Project HIRED's headquarters near Downtown San Jose at their Empowerment Breakfast open house.
It was obvious to me as soon as I entered the building that the event was well organized, even dare I say it, choreographed. After signing in with Liz, I was immediately introduced to the CEO, Sharon Winston who thanked me for my interest and shepherded me into the start of the tour. It was well thought out into 3 straight forward steps, step one taking me into the 1st Conference room to meet the Programs Director Noel Kreider.
By this time, I was already sipping on my cup of Starbucks coffee which I helped myself to at reception. Noel took the time to explain more about what Project HIRED is all about and how they would be a great resource for anyone in the SCI Community thinking about returning to work. I asked her what relationship, if any, they have with the Department of Rehabilitation and she proudly told me that they have a special relationship with them and are their preferred partner in the San Jose area. Project HIRED is a great resource for getting back to work for individuals in the South Bay, for anyone living further afield, getting in contact with your regional DOR office would be a good place to start. DOR Office Locations
I also had the chance to network with Lisa Rijhwani who is a program supervisor with Nova. The following day, Lisa provided me with more information on Nova as well as a link to find local job centers around the country.
After spreading my Bagel with cream cheese, I then made my way to the next conference room where I found out about the Call Center Program where Project HIRED employs 36 individuals with significant disabilities. I chatted with Jonathan Black who is the Fresno VA Call Center Site Supervisor. He took my contact information and Jonathan, if you are reading this, I'm still waiting on you getting back to me on any connections you may have with the SCI community in Fresno. As I understood the project, it not only provided call center services for the Fresno, Palo Alto and San Francisco VA but also gave employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities.
Finally, I took the 3rd and last step where I had the opportunity to meet some of the clients of Project HIRED as well as network with other individuals supporting and providing services to Project HIRED.
So, if you are an individual living in the South Bay with a disability and looking to get back into employment, Project HIRED would be a great starting point.