As a native of Buffalo, New York and a die-hard Bills fan, I relocated to Florida in 2001 where I joined a lifelong friend in assisting him in running a marketing company in Orlando, Florida. In 2009 we opened an office in Casselberry, which happened to be located next to a Vocational Rehabilitation Office. I met some of the VR Counselors and learned about the services they provide. They informed me that they had clients who may be a good fit for our business, so I made the decision to contract our company as a Voc Rehab Vendor where I could receive workers through on-the-job training. Over the next couple of years, we employed several people who were referred from VR. What stood out to me was that they showed a great appreciation for the opportunity to work with us. They were loyal and they would do their best every day. I appreciated working with them and once I learned that there was an opportunity to help people with disabilities with employment on a full-time basis, I made the decision to open employU.
Once I started receiving referrals and started working with the individuals, I realized that this was what I was meant to do. I quickly became passionate and driven to build employU to become a great company. Within a year I was able to recruit an amazing staff, including my wife, and started developing systems and processes that would result in high levels of activity for our customers. We worked in the rural areas first, where our services were most needed and found success quickly. Since 2012 we have brought our methods to over 40 counties in the State of Florida with multiple services and have helped thousands of people embark on new careers. Early on, we made the decision to never turn down a new referral and instead grow to the demand. We’ll continue to expand, and we will also continue to discover ways that we can improve and help our customers better.
I’m Sheila and I’m an Employment Specialist Job Coach at employU. Growing up, I’ve always considered myself to be a passionate person who puts my all into the things I do. At one time, a colleague gave me an alternate name of Ashalata, which in East Indian, means Vine of Hope. Identifying with that name, I consider myself a P.I.A. (Passionate Individual named Ashalata). I believe it truly encompasses my roots and life experiences.
I was born in Painesville Ohio, which I think is perfect name of a place for any mother to give birth (Get it? PAINesville.) I attended Florida State University and received a B.S. in Business/Marketing and Sales. Prior to joining the employU team, I worked in employment services for 6 years, developing business and community relationships for the purpose of identifying and creating employment and on-the-job training opportunities for clients. I also had a successful career in business consulting and sales, project administration, and accounting. These successes have helped shape my ability to identify and understand the needs of each unique client and employer. I think every client is like a wrapped gift, just waiting to discover the surprise and the value inside the package. I believe that every person possesses their own gifts and talent, and that it is my job to discover what those are and match them with the needs of an employer. Everybody needs an opportunity to find and reach their potential and to never limit how high their bar can be raised, but instead help them to help themselves raise their own bar.
Some of my personal passions are spending time with my family and a special dog named Rocky, whitewater rafting, any water activity, and golf. I also enjoy volunteer work, successful grant writing for small non-profits who serve people that are economically disadvantaged or disabled and organizations that help youth. I have been a volunteer mentor in Take Stock in Children for 13 years. This is a statewide mentoring program that upon HS graduation the student earns a 4 year scholarship.
I think my job with employU is the best in the market because I am able to help community individuals and employers reach their goals and objectives. I also like knowing that I am doing my part to help local, state, and federal economies.
I am Barbara Markowski, an Employment Specialist with employU in Jacksonville, FL. I was born in Texas but soon thereafter, the Navy would send our family to the Sunshine State of Florida, and Orange Park is where I would call home. Fast forward “a few years” and Jacksonville is where I celebrate 32 years of marriage to an amazing guy I met at Orange Park High School. We are the proud parents of two adult children, a daughter-in-law, and soon to be son-in-law! (and a German Shepherd, and Maine Coon cat! 😊)
Relationship building and networking for your success is my success! I’ve held several support positions in the community by helping navigate employment opportunities, affordable housing, public healthcare access, transportation, behavioral health resources, relocation assistance, education, and foster care as a Guardian ad Litem.
Working with a local Employment Specialist who understands the business needs in our community and how each individual can add value to the workplace is my passion! There’s nothing more rewarding than loving what you do for a living.
If you ever see me having a bad hair day, it’s not because I’m stressed out! It’s likely because my mirrors weren’t lined up right; you see … I have always cut my own hair! It’s humbling, keeps me grounded, and easy on the wallet! Need a haircut?