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Cindy Olson

Cindy Olson: Breaking down barriers and achieving job confidence

Cindy Olson used to work in a school system, but lost her job during an economic downturn. After being out of work for a few years, Olson felt intimidated entering the workplace again and struggled with chronic depression and anxiety. To help her re-enter the workplace, Olson came to Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute's Vocational Services Department and worked with their Job Placement specialists. With their help, Olson was hired as an accounts payable specialist for a medical products supplier.

"You lose your job confidence when you've been out of work for a while," said Olson. "It's definitely taken some getting used to; you just have to take it one day at a time."

Olson has been in her position for over a year now, an important milestone, and is taking on more responsibility at work. To help her manage her anxiety and new challenges, Olson has continued working with an Extended Employment job coach through Vocational Services.

Extended Employment provides one-on-one monthly support from staff members who help clients learn strategies to keep their job. Services are available for as long as a person is employed and they wish to continue services - a relationship that often spans years.

"Cindy has come so far since we first met and she started her current position," said Mary Carter, Olson's job coach. "Her self-esteem has truly improved and she is able to use her skills effectively. And it shows with her added responsibility."

"I am very thankful for Courage Kenny and Extended Employment services. The support from Mary has been invaluable to me. When I first arrived my self-esteem was very low. This helped me get where I needed to be."

Olson, who plans to retire in the next few years, said she is looking forward to spending time with her family, including her granddaughter. She also looks forward to spending more time on her art, and making cards for special occasions. Her talent has been noticed at work where she has been asked to create cards for her co-workers' birthdays.

This responsibility at work and stronger relationships with her co-workers demonstrates how Olson has moved forward professionally and personally, proving that strength and confidence can break down any barriers that get in her way.