In this challenging economy it often takes team work and creativity to assist SC Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) clients to find opportunities. Just ask Frank Gilg.
Frank has been an SCVRD client since 2009. Through the guidance of his counselor, Dana Hazel of the Charleston area office, Frank enrolled at the Information Technology Training Center (ITTC) in West Columbia. While there, he realized he had a love of computers and a passion for photography and graphics.
Jim Williams of Client Services, former ITTC Director, learned two key things from his time working with Frank: how much Frank enjoys helping others and how much he relishes opportunities to improve how things get done.
After successfully completing the Business Applications Plus (BAP) and Business-Oriented Applications (BOA) programs in March, 2011, Frank returned to his home in Mount Pleasant. With Dana, he began searching for a rewarding career opportunity.
Facing the inevitable challenge in today’s economy of finding that ideal career, Frank decided to “think outside the box,” taking Jim Williams’ advice to utilize volunteer opportunities to enhance his employability.
“I followed [Jim’s] advice…and found a career path that I think I will like,” Frank explains.
“Before Mother’s Day, my girl friend complained about needing help [where she works at a local florist], but her boss was unwilling to pay anyone. I told her I’ll [volunteer].
“So the Tuesday before Mothers Day I went in and convinced him to let me work. By Saturday night I had worked 56 hours and the guy said he was "blown away" by my work ethic and good nature and offered to pay me retroactively. He hired me as an independent agent for the rest of the year.
“I drive the orders, chop flowers and perform general shop duties. I found out that I am really good at the creative side of arranging [flowers], and actually better than most of his designers!"
Frank is also using what he learned at the ITTC.
“The floral business has become highly computerized and I am one of the few there that can handle learning the wire services and so forth,” he says. “Vocational Rehabilitation put me in that position. I would have missed the whole computer age without the program at ITTC.”
He has even developed a marketing brochure for the floral business.
Expressing her commitment to making sure Frank has a long-term career, his counselor, Dana, focuses “on providing Frank with the quality service he deserves. He always puts his best foot forward, and with him, the sky is the limit.”
But for now Frank has found a good opportunity to gain income and useful experience.
“The work is also good for me mentally as it feels like I am in the game, and the computer work is a 100% transferable skill,” he said.
“Thanks to you all!” says Frank.