A Step Towards a Lifelong Dream: Caitlin’s Story

Caitlin caring for a horseWhen getting to know 22-year-old Caitlin, one thing is for certain: Caitlin loves horses. Caitlin is currently going through the process of employU’s Discovery program, and early on expressed this lifelong passion to her Discovery Specialist, Jeff Hancock. Jeff also learned from those close to Caitlin, that this interest in horses included riding lessons and a desire to work with horses from a young age.  

As part of the Discovery process, Jeff took Caitlin to a horse boarding facility to observe Caitlin working with and around horses. For the duration of the trip to the facility, Caitlin was very quiet. When the car turned into the gate of the farm, she opened up and began asking questions. It was true, horses were her life and her passion.  

For this first outing, Caitlin got a taste of everything that goes on in a boarding stable. With supports from the barn staff, she was shown how to muck the stalls, sweep the barn floor, replace the straw, and feed and water each stall. She did all of this with a smile on her face and talked the entire time about the horses. What Jeff saw was that she was able to complete simple and complex tasks with only a single instruction and after being shown how to do the task once. She was able to work while carrying on a conversation and she was able to work in an environment where most others would complain about the smell or task.  

Caitlin was then able to work directly with the animals and was shown how to move around the horse. After this instruction, Caitlin was then shown how to properly bathe and groom the horse. Again, she was able to do everything with the same level of instructions and support. It was apparent that she could do some of the more complex tasks without needing to be redirected or getting off track. She was also comfortable with the animal and didn’t mind getting dirty.  

Although this was only the first of many outings Jeff will take Caitlin to in order to observe her skillset in a work environment, it proved to be a successful and informative one. After all of the outings have been completed and the information has been collected, possible career paths will be charted for Caitlin. This process will take a total of six to eight weeks. From there, the Customized Employment Specialist will have a clear direction and begin looking for businesses that can’t continue without Caitlin as part of their team.  We are looking forward to following Caitlin throughout her progress in the Discovery Program and are excited to update everyone on her accomplishments along the way. Make sure to check back soon to see what happens next in Caitlin’s journey towards successful and sustainable employment.