MRC's Vocational Rehabilitation Services
But Jones, who lives in Worcester, refused to completely give up. "I didn't know what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to do something," she said. "I knew that I had a disability but it wasn't enough for me to roll over. I knew I still had the abilities to do something."
Jones decided to return to school to study coding and billing for which she recently became certified. Jones did well in school but she discovered that she couldn't get a job without experience. "I came out of school, I did well, but I didn't have any experience," she said. "There were a lot of different jobs that were available but they all required experience and I had none. It's very difficult to get experience because no one will hire you if you don't have the experience. It's a double edged sword."
MRC picks up the tab for wages and training so there is no cost to a business. What they do get is the chance to train and/or evaluate a pre-screened candidate for a possible hire. The program has been around for a while but a recent infusion of stimulus funds has enabled the program to expand and impact more people with disabilities like Jones. MRC received $6 million in stimulus funds for Vocational Rehabilitation Services and it used $300K of its stimulus funds on the OJT/OJE program with $50K provided to the Worcester office.
Jones participated in the OJT program in the Fallon Clinic and when she finished, she was encouraged to apply for a 20 hour a week position in the revenue department. She got it.
For Jones, the experience impacted her self esteem as much as her wallet. "When you are diagnosed with an illness, as I was and you are considered disabled or you are limited in some way, it affects your self confidence," she said. "I went from being a very confident person who was going 10, 12 hours a day, someone who had strong endurance to someone who struggled to get her grocery shipping done at the end of the day. When I was given this opportunity, I jumped at it. The Fallon clinic has been wonderful."
Recently, Jones was offered a 32-hour a week position at the Clinic, a job that she said is perfect for her. "This is an opportunity I would not have had if it were not for this program. I'm back in the work world. It's been wonderful," she said.