SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT: Career Advancement
College Graduates are Using the Services of Staffing Companies
More college graduates are using the services of staffing companies to help them enter the workforce. This is the route to employment taken by Valerie Meyer. Valerie graduated from college with an associate degree in business management and marketing. But Valerie found it difficult to find employment. Although she uses a wheelchair, Valerie did not think that this was a barrier to employment. "I think that it was more my lack of employment experience," she said.
After months of trying to find employment in her chosen field, Valerie, at the suggestion of her father, applied to the Manpower office in Vernon Hills, Illinois. "I felt that Manpower could provide me work experience and additional computer training," Valerie recalls.
Manpower's skill assessments confirmed Valerie's ability to perform complex computer data entry tasks. Through Manpower's training program, Valerie increased her computer keying speed and learned other financial management computer programs.
Valerie's first work assignment with Manpower was in a data entry position and lasted six days. Valerie waited three months before getting another work assignment, which lasted four months; this job was followed by another three-month period of no work.
In early 1996 Valerie received a temporary assignment at Nursing Spectrum magazine. After one year of working at the magazine as a Manpower employee, Valerie was hired as a permanent customer service representative. Melyni Serpa is Valerie's supervisor at Nursing Spectrum. "Valerie was one of 60 people that Manpower provided us for the particular project that we had. We knew that when the project ended we were going to hire one person. After observing Valerie's work, we knew that she was the right person for the job."
Valerie did not request any workplace accommodations. "We installed an automatic door opener for a restroom to make it easier for her and for other 23 visitors to our offices," Melyni says. As for hiring practices at Nursing Spectrum, "disability is a non-factor," states Melyni. "We had no fears about hiring individuals with disabilities."
At Nursing Spectrum Valerie answers phones and performs data entry tasks. "I'm enjoying my work and the people I work with," she says. "This is the kind of job that I wanted." As for her experience with Manpower, Valerie says, "I didn't know what to expect when I first applied. But it turned out well and I'm staying at work."
© Peter Blanck, 1998. Permission to Post Granted 3/18/99.
For More Information:
Professor Peter David Blanck
The University of Iowa
College of Law 43
Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1113