Envision Unlimited's Job Placement Department has provided job training, skill building and employment opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for nearly 50 years.
We understand the empowering nature of employment and our supportive staff members are dedicated to finding the best fit for our clients. We have successfully placed numerous individuals in retail, janitorial, clerical and food service positions. Some of our recent employers include Aramark, A'viands, Carson's, Home Depot, Jewel-Osco, McDonald's Shedd Aquarium, Target, Lowe's and the University of Illinois at Chicago. It is our goal to ensure that each job fosters the most independence and strengthens each individual's ability to connect with the community in meaningful ways. Program services include:
Assessment & Career Counseling
Job Coaching & Support Services
Charles Whitsett, who spoke at the Goose Open Golf Outing on August 12th, is one of countless, remarkable clients Envision serves.
Charles turns 50 next month and feels younger and better than he has in many years. He credits the personal growth to hard work and perseverance and his experience with the Envision Unlimited Job Placement Program. Recently, Charles was promoted to In Focus Captain at the Home Depot on Chicago's South Side where he has worked part time for 13 years. These days, he is responsible for more than he ever thought possible. "I watch out for the safety of many, making sure the sprinklers are on, the pot holes are covered, you name it," he says.
It wasn't long ago that Charles was more concerned about things like making ends meet or whether or not his epilepsy would prevent him from finding a job at all, let alone a job he enjoyed and felt proud doing. Envision Unlimited worked closely with Charles and helped him land the job at Home Depot. Envision, which also works with Charles once a week to be sure he is on track with medication, employs him the other part of the time as a janitor at one of its sites. "It's a lot of work but I really love it. I love Envision and I love Home Depot. I wouldn't change it."
Charles was diagnosed with epilepsy, in his case tonic clonic seizures, when he was only four years old. He was able to attend elementary school like the rest of his friends and family, as well as high school. He also graduated on time. "I did alright, thanks to my neurologist," Charles says. But when it was time to work, things changed.
It was nearly impossible for Charles to land jobs, he says, because people didn't want to hire people with seizures. Charles found himself filling out countless applications, and often found himself unemployed. Then one day, one of the case managers at a vocational school in the city noticed he had great potential regardless of his developmental disability and managed to introduce him to the people at Envision. "After my grandparents passed away, I was living from pillar to post and I needed help. I didn't know how to go about that." But Envision stepped in.
Today, Charles loves working at Home Depot and enjoys talking about how far he has come. He is excited about the next stage of his life and looks forward to what the latest promotion will bring him.
"You can't see it, but it's there," Charles says, referring to his developmental disability. "But I'm not a person to give up. I'm what you call a fighter. If you see something you want, you've got to grab it." When asked if he could do anything in life if given the chance, he said he would take a vacation to Paris. He's never been out of Chicago. And given what Charles has been able to accomplish, many of the people who know him wouldn't doubt that he will find a way to get there. Our programs are accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and certified by the Illinois Department of Human Services as well as the Department of Labor.
Contact us to learn more about Envision's Job Training & Placement service.
For over half a century, Envision has been focused on improving the lives of individuals with disabilities. Our many programs have been developed to help our clients participate in their surrounding communities as well as develop the skills to find great levels of personal fulfillment.