(Auburn, ME) On November 16, 2023, Dan Dzengelewski, a Career Resource Specialist on the Auburn Team, was presented a Success at Work award during a team meeting. He was nominated for the award by Director Mike Murtha. Since the award’s inception in 2000, Work Opportunities Unlimited (WOU) has presented the Success at Work award to honor and recognize team members who have delivered outstanding service to our clients consistent with the company’s core values.

L to R: Mike Murtha, Dan Dzengelewski, Ryan Mountain

Dan’s person-centered approach to employment services helps each individual he supports meet their personal and employment goals with initiative and dignity. One individual was referred to WOU after several negative employment experiences, so Dan asked what his interests were to figure out a better-fitting position. The individual mentioned enjoying a high school culinary course and shopping for seafood at his local supermarket to prepare meals at home, so Dan developed a job for him at that supermarket and provided the coaching he needed to be resilient and confident in his role. The individual quickly increased his responsibilities and hours, and has received promotions, a significant pay raise, and employee of the month; he also purchased his first car, transforming his life for the better.

Another individual was cleaning and assembling boxes at a bakery, but dreamed of becoming a baker herself. To achieve this goal, she needed support in becoming proficient with food prep work and baking tasks. Dan developed a custom-made calendar complete with a graph that helped her to identify which perishable items were expired, and added color coding to all the recipes and baking utensils. Instituting such support strategies helped the individual earn more work hours, a pay increase, and employee of the month honors. She is very proud of her work as a baker and continues to increase her tasks, recently mastering gluten-free baked goods.

In addition, Dan’s ability to build successful, reciprocal relationships is demonstrated in the long-term partnership he has fostered between WOU and an employer where he supports four clients. When one individual needed to leave his position for over a year due to an extended medical issue, Dan’s strong relationship with the store manager helped ensure the position remained available. Upon the individual’s return, Dan worked with the manager and the individual to help him reacclimate to the workplace and become proficient in his tasks once again. During Dan’s tenure in supporting clients at this employer, the store won team of the year twice – out of over 2,000 stores – which the store manager attributes to the diverse workforce that WOU has helped them to develop.

During the award presentation Ryan Mountain presented Dan with a certificate which read:

For his commitment to our core values, “We believe all people can work,” “We build successful, reciprocal relationships,” and “We believe in individual initiative and dignity.” As a Career Resource Specialist on the Auburn team, Dan consistently provides quality, person-centered services to help his clients achieve their employment goals. One individual had experienced negative employment experiences, but Dan found him a job at a grocery store after discovering his love for the culinary arts, then encouraged the individual to grow personally and professionally. Dan’s ability to build successful relationships is exemplified at one business where he supports several clients; the manager attributes the store’s success to the diverse, capable workforce Dan has helped them to develop. Another individual who was cleaning at a bakery dreamed of being a baker herself, so Dan used color coding and a custom-made calendar and graph to help her master food prep and baking techniques. Dan’s outstanding support services continue to have a very positive impact on the individuals he serves every day.