When Diane began her career as an adult, she was already 28 and had been out of school for ten years. Two major reasons contributed to her late start: Her mother preferred that she stay at home and the family was not aware of organizations such as the Occupational Training Center (O.T.C.), which provides both the work and the assistance most often needed when an individual has a disability.
Diane’s mother passed away when she was 28, prompting her father to suggest it was time for her to enter the work force. A friend had told him about the O.T.C. and the type of work and help they provide for individuals with disabilities. He made a few calls which resulted in an appointment for Diane to interview for a position. She was hired in May, 1991 and is now part of the O.T.C.’s janitorial staff contracted to clean State Buildings in Trenton.
While entering the workforce directly out of school can be difficult, adjusting to a full-time work schedule after being at home for almost ten years has a more complex set of challenges. Diane says she doesn’t remember her feelings at that time, but is sure that she was, at the very least, apprehensive. She also added that she may have been even more nervous after learning she had obtained the position.
How would she adjust to working a full time job? Could she learn to do the work? But, once on the job, she flourished. Diane picked up her responsibilities quickly and made friends easily.
The best part, Diane says, was that she never felt as though she was there by herself. Whenever there was an issue or some problem, her supervisor was there for her, giving guidance and support.
Diane has plenty of friends at work, but at time, she says, that can be a problem. Because she does such good work and has such a vibrant personality, many of the office staff members love to talk to her, which at times distracts her from work. But for the past 23 years her supervisor has always been in close contact with her, providing the necessary guidance.
Diane has been gainfully employed for 23 years and is now looking forward to retirement. She is not exactly sure what she will do, and says she is somewhat uneasy about leaving her friends, but knows that the time is nearing.
Diane, says that she is grateful to the O.T.C. for these past two-plus decades. And the O.T.C. feels just as fortunate to have Diane.