Significant Elements’ Work Preserve program celebrated the recent placement of yet another participant in full-time employment. Brandan Fells, a 23-year-old who moved to Ithaca from Rochester, recently earned a warehouse job at Therm, Inc. on Ithaca’s South Hill.

Brandan Fells_smallBrandan joined Significant Elements in May, after learning of its job training program through Workforce New York’s JobLINK. According to Work Preserve Education and Outreach Coordinator Suzanne Onodera, from the very beginning Brandan showed “a willingness to learn and change.” She cites his openness to learning new skills and taking personal responsibility for tasks as the reasons that he has moved along so quickly to full employment.

Since he is on his own without family support, Brandan says that his main motivation has been a desire to become self-sufficient. “My goal was to learn to take care of myself,” Brandan explains, “and being here helped me accomplish that.” He noted that work expectations were clearly laid out, with liberal doses of guidance and advice provided to participants.

Over the last month of training, Brandan has worked closely with all Work Preserve staff, including Peter Walz, Work Preserve Warehousing and Traditional Skills Trainer. Peter introduced Brandan to basic carpentry skills, including familiarizing him with tools and types of wood. The Work Preserve apprentice laughingly recalls all of the barn wood he cleaned off for sale in the store and even enjoyed the outside gardening project he tackled with other participants.

Suzanne and Brandan_small-1Apart from successfully completing specific tasks, Brandan also got needed assists in other areas. Based on Brandan’s interest, Suzanne started an informal study group to prep for the driver’s learner permit exam, and Brandan recently passed the test. One-on-one guidance also nudged him to follow through with his job search. In particular, Suzanne practiced follow-up calls with Brandan. He admits to battling with procrastination, and being in the Work Preserve program helped him address the issue and successfully follow through with tasks.

Brandan says that he would recommend the Work Preserve program to others facing barriers to employment. With full-time employment in his grasp, Brandan hopes to find a permanent place to live and transportation in his quest for self-sufficiency. We wish him much success in his transition!

To support the Work Preserve program’s ongoing efforts to help young adults like Brandan make the transition to employment and financial independence, please click here to make your gift now.

Funding for Work Preserve has been provided by the City of Ithaca Community Development Block Grant program, Park Foundation, J.M. McDonald Foundation, Bank of America Foundation, and Social Ventures.

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