“(Her) gentle encouragement and savvy problem-solving skills were significant in supporting this consumer in her new job.”
“Her willingness to provide and organize rides for her client helped (the client) retain her position when we lacked other transportation options.”
“As a VR counselor, this is exactly the kind of assistance and support we need from our consumers when we send them for Employment Services.”
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Kathleen Bloom used these statements in reference to Janis Barnett, Rauch Employment Consultant.
Janis has been working for Rauch, in total, for about two years. She worked in 2012 and then briefly left, returning in September of this past year. Janis was previously assistant director at a recovery house for women and found her job at Rauch because of a friend who worked as an employment consultant with Employment Services.
“It’s always been nonprofits…because it’s all about the clientele,” she said. “There are people less fortunate who don’t necessarily need a hand up, but they need some assistance and support and then you watch the miracle happen.”
Janis’s process is to first talk to companies that are hiring. She approaches the employees first, asking them about management and observing how they are treated. Then she asks if positions are open and speaks to the hiring manager, leaving her card. When she goes back for a second visit, she has a client in mind.
“I introduce the person to the manager without divulging their disability or name. I talk about their assets and qualities and what would make them good for that company,” Janis said.
Janis said she has closed many cases since she began working here and is currently working with about eight clients. One of the most rewarding parts of her job is enabling clients to see the possibilities they have within themselves.
“It’s my job to open their minds to bigger and better things and to help them realize they are capable of doing more,” she said. “I can hear, as well as see, the underlying gifts and see potential.”
Janis said she never stops working. She’s always looking around for “now hiring” signs and asking her friends if they know of any open positions.
Her favorite part of the job is meeting the client for the first time.
“I never read a profile before meeting someone. There are no preconceived notions,” Janis said. “I love getting to see who they are before reading who people think they are.”
Janis said she could go on and on about clients and their stories. One in particular that stood out in her mind was a man she worked with who would hardly talk to her when they first met. Eventually Janis got to know him and found out he loved books and movies so she started asking for recommendations and watched everything he told her to.
“That opened him up to trust me,” she said. “He told me that he never says anybody’s name unless you’re in his inner circle…he calls my name now.”
Janis said experiences like that, this one specifically, make her feel special because she knows it means she earned his trust and respect.
Her goals for the future include placing more people on a monthly basis and helping the community to be even more aware of Rauch and what it has to offer.
Janis has nothing, but praise for her boss Johnny Fussell, Employment Services program manager and credits him for her success.
“I have the best boss in the whole world,” she said. “It’s not possible without Jesus and Johnny.”
Janis also said she greatly appreciates her co-workers, Valerie, Debbie, Mia, and Myra.
"I depend on them and they depend on me," she said. "We work together as a team."
Janis’ passion for her job shines through in her interactions with clients and in the job search.
“Janis Barnett’s work has been exemplary for this type of consumer,” Bloom said. “She is an asset to the Rauch Employment Services staff.”
This post is from guest blogger Darian Eswine--an English and journalism major from Franklin College interning with Rauch this summer.