In 1985, Work Opportunities Unlimited began services in Maine with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), and with Health and Human Services Developmental Services. In 1999 various School systems began utilizing our Student Transitional services to assist them in transitioning from their school settings to adult services, and employment. In 2000 we began providing employment services for TANF recipients and started our Welfare-to-Work services. Our services include employment services, supported employment services, community support services, transitional services, mental health employment, and long-term support services.
Work Opportunities Unlimited is a CARF certified provider of the following services:
Aaron M. has had to overcome multiple challenges, both physically and intellectually. Physically, he only has limited ability in his left arm and hand, and is only able to use three of his left fingers. He has no use of his right arm, hand and fingers whatsoever. Because of these physical challenges, it can be difficult for him to complete certain tasks. In addition, Aaron can easily become unfocused, which also adds to his challenges in a workplace setting.
After Aaron graduated from Lisbon High School in Lisbon, ME, the German-born, Lisbon-raised man came to Work Opportunities Unlimited (WOU), hoping WOU could help him find - and keep - meaningful work. Now 25 and living in Lewiston, ME, Aaron has been receiving services from WOU since 2011.
His Career Resource Specialist from Work Opportunities Unlimited, Gerry Lalime, helped Aaron find his current job at Marshwood Rehabilitation Center. Aaron works in the laundry room, folding towels and clothing protectors. He just celebrated his one-year anniversary on the job, and has become a beloved and valuable part of the team.
"Aaron has made huge progress at his job and in his responsibilities. A year ago, it would take Aaron 25 minutes to fold one facecloth. Today, Aaron folds 324 facecloths in the span of his two hour shift," Lalime explained. "I am very proud of Aaron and how far he's come."
Aaron always has a smile on his face and enjoys being around people. He loves his job and has become an integral part of the organization's culture. He works happily and loves joking around and chatting with co-workers.
Lalime helps Aaron by providing ongoing support, encouragement and training. He also helps him stay focused by giving him specific daily goals.
"His supervisor and colleagues are impressed with how productive he's become," Lalime added. "They've seen him blossom in this position, and they're very happy that he's part of their team."
Sarah Ames is a Team Leader/Business Developer in Work Opportunities Unlimited's (WOU) Portland, ME office. In this role, she handles a variety of responsibilities, including helping the Job Development team make placement goals, working with clients to find meaningful employment, conducting 30-day meetings and site visits with team members, assisting with retention plan training, and meeting with businesses in the community to discuss employment possibilities. Sarah also provides job coaching for clients, helping them maximize their success.
Her favorite part of the job is helping clients find meaningful employment. "It's so gratifying to work with a person who wants to be part of the community and to become more independent," she said. Sarah especially enjoys seeing clients' faces light up when they get a job.
"It's truly amazing to get up each day and do something that's so rewarding and fun. I am so honored to work with all my co-workers and our clients. At the end of the day, I can say that I have truly helped change someone's life. But the truth is that the clients and this work have changed my life too," Sarah explained. "I really believe in what we do at WOU, and I'm so glad to be part of this wonderful company."
A rising star within the company, Sarah was accepted into WOU's Director in Training program this month. Additionally, WOU's CEO Steve Wood, recently presented Sarah with a "Success At Work" award, spotlighting her positive attitude, strong work ethic, dedication to WOU clients and commitment to the team. Sarah achieved stellar placement results last year (57) and so far this year (33). In fact, she received the company's 2012 Roger LaChapelle Placement Award for having the most placements in the company.
Sarah is from Lewiston, ME where she graduated from Lewiston High School.