Work Opportunities Unlimited (WOU) cultivates successful, reciprocal relationships with employers to deliver the most comprehensive, customized career and pre-career coaching opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment. A notable example is WOU’s relationship with Covenant Living, one of the largest not-for-profit retirement living organizations in the U.S. WOU has partnered with Covenant Living in Plantation, Florida for over a year. Now, WOU and Covenant Living are providing employment opportunities in Keene, New Hampshire as well!
Sue Abel, Director at WOU’s Broward County, Florida location, helped initiate the relationship with Covenant Living alongside Career Resource Specialist (CRS) Arlene Diaz-Wolff. Numerous WOU clients supported in Florida have gained valuable skills via on-the-job training opportunities and have been successfully placed in various departments, including human resources and environmental services. Covenant Living provides a welcoming, supportive environment for WOU clients according to Arlene, who says that the staff “makes sure to give my clients what they need to succeed. My clients always have natural supports, which allows them to be very independent at work.” The senior residents welcome WOU clients right away and want to get to know them. Arlene says, “My candidates tell me, once you are in, you don’t want to leave!”
Covenant Living’s supportive culture starts with its caring, communicative management team. Arlene says that management is “absolutely fantastic and very welcoming. We have meetings to discuss clients’ performance and what can be developed. They take their time to train the clients. They offer lots of opportunities to grow, and it’s extremely family-oriented.” Sue agrees, sharing a great anecdote about Covenant Living’s general manager making sure to recognize a WOU client who worked very hard to remove gum off the floor. “This recognition made his day, and it was in front of the entire team.”
Arlene says that Covenant Living has enjoyed partnering with WOU in Florida so much, they asked her whether there were other WOU locations near their facilities. Arlene and Sue realized that both Covenant Living and WOU have locations in Keene, New Hampshire, so they connected the Keene team, including Director Tosha Talbot, with Covenant Living’s HR department in October 2022. Tosha brought a client on a tour and was impressed: “The staff there are friendly and pleasant. The buildings are beautiful, clean, and very well maintained. They have a variety of departments and needs so we can find what works for our clients… We love this site!” WOU is the first provider of supported employment services that Covenant Living has partnered with in Keene, so Tosha and CRS Amy Vaughn have provided guidance to the management team to ensure successful transition into employment for their WOU candidates. The burgeoning partnership is off to a great start, as Tosha says, “Covenant Living has been an amazing employer to partner with and very supportive of our clients and their needs.”
WOU is excited to partner with Covenant Living in both Florida and New Hampshire, and looks forward to potential opportunities in additional locations. Arlene describes the business relationship with Covenant Living as a natural partnership due to “our common goal of taking care of others. I think that is what unites us: making people succeed.” What a wonderful example of a successful relationship!