“It’s hard to move back in with your parents, in your hometown, after living on your own for years. It caused her to lose a lot of her confidence,” said Dr. Lori Glaser-Zakem about her daughter Rachel. After finishing her master’s degree, Rachel had to move back home while she looked to start her career.
According to Lori, Rachel had been applying for jobs and going to interviews, but just couldn’t seem to gain any traction. “She was down on herself. She’s a very independent spirit, so living with us, and the struggle to find a job… Her dad and I just knew we had to do something for her.” However, beyond helping Rachel improve her resume, Lori and her husband were unsure of how else they could help—given how much had changed since they were younger. “Everything is just so different now,” Lori said, “you apply to jobs online; you have to know how to ‘search’ for jobs. It’s a whole different world.”
One day, Lori remembered something her friends had said about JVS Career Services. Recalling how positive their experiences had been with the organization, Lori decided that reaching out to them might be the perfect next-step for Rachel. “What I really needed was someone to help direct her and give her some objective input. After all, I’m only Mom,” Lori insisted. “But we had to twist Rachel’s arm a little because she is so independent. She wanted to do it on her own, and she didn’t want us spending the money on her. We finally convinced her. We said, ‘Look. This is our gift.’ And looking back, I have to say it was worth every penny,” she affirmed.
As part of the Career Services Package Lori purchased, Rachel was connected with Christine Olsen, one of the career coaches at JVS Career Services. The two worked hard to sharpen Rachel’s resume even more. Christine also taught Rachel interviewing techniques, and how to develop a networking mindset.
“They really went above and beyond,” remarked Lori. “I didn’t get to see the actual coaching sessions, but Rachel would come home and she was absolutely more upbeat and positive. She felt more confident in herself, and that she and her skills were marketable. Christine really helped Rachel see the positives she could bring to a company,” Lori said.
All of the hard work finally paid off. Rachel was offered a full-time job as a Transit Planning Specialist at the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) in Bend, Oregon. “We didn’t know Bend existed until she got this job,” Lori laughed, “but she loves it there. She loves what she’s doing! She’s actually in the field that she studied, so this has been such a great fit for her!”
Rachel started with the COIC in September of 2018. Recently, on the one-year anniversary of her employment, she posted the following thoughts on her Facebook page: “Today marks one year of living in Bend. It also happens to be the happiest year of my adult life. Thanks to all of the wonderful people who helped make it such a great year and an incredible place to call home!”
Not only is Rachel’s job a perfect fit for her skills and experience, but the quality-of-life she gets in Bend is outstanding. As Lori put it, “she’s a 15-minute drive to any number of hiking trails or rivers or lakes. When she’s not at work, she’s always out exploring nature or the community. Rachel is just so thankful to JVS Career Services because they pointed her in this direction. I have to say, as a parent, this was the best gift I have ever given.”
Rachel’s new life in Bend has provided other positives for Lori and her husband. “No one knows of Bend,” said Lori, “and the real-estate prices are unbelievable. But they are starting to go up, and they are projected to keep going up. So, we actually purchased a retirement home in Bend, and we are currently renting it out to Rachel and a few of her friends—one of whom lived here in Cincinnati and just moved out there to be with Rachel.”
In recent months, Lori’s son was also looking for a new job—a search that eventually centered on the Washington, DC area. Since he knew what a difference JVS Career Services had made in his sister’s life, he thought the organization might be just as helpful for him. “But as fate would have it,” Lori smiled, “the day he was going to call JVS Career Services, he was offered a job. But he knew about Rachel’s experience, and how happy she was.”
At the time JVS Career Services helped Rachel secure her job, Lori made a generous donation to the organization. And, when the milestone of her daughter’s first full year of employment was reached, Lori made another donation. In thinking back over all of her positive experiences, Lori had clearly developed a thankful heart: “I am just so very grateful to JVS Career Services. I really would do anything for them; they’ve had that big of an impact on our lives. The donations were in appreciation of the work that was done, and the help that was given. I want other people to be able to have this kind of experience. It truly is a wonderful service and it can change someone’s life.”