"I was the guy who could stop your VCR from blinking 12 o’clock."
“I learned to solve problems early on using computer skills I learned from reverse engineering programming languages on my Commodore 64 computer, and since used those skills to solve any number of technical problems, like installing car audio equipment or building and repairing computers.”
Ben has lived in Southern Maine all his life. He was born at Goodall Hospital and raised by a single mother.
While working at a factory in the late 90s, Ben severely injured his ankle and knee. He was also suffering from some mental health issues at the time. Ben was awarded a small settlement for the work injury that could only support him for a short time; soon after, he was living off social security insurance.
“I had many mental difficulties compounded by the knee and ankle injury, which I worked through with the help of my family’s support and great doctors and nurse practitioners and therapists, eventually readying me to seek a dependable career.”
And so he turned to the CareerCenter to find that career. But what Ben got out of the CareerCenter was more than just help finding a job – it restored his confidence.
The CareerCenter empowered Ben to take that first step of re-training, and provided him with the counseling and support to get through it. By providing the encouragement and the opportunity, the CareerCenter helped Ben get back on his feet.
With the CareerCenter’s assistance, he connected with the Vocational Rehabilitation program—also known as "voc rehab," another service of Maine’s Department of Labor—that supports the employment of people with disabilities. Through voc rehab, he earned his Computer Technician certification and went on to earn a higher-level certification in Security Administration.
For Ben, passing the certification exam was not the difficult part. The technical knowledge and skills came naturally to him. Rather, his lack of self-confidence had stopped him from having a successful career.
"The most challenging issue was not being afraid of taking that first step. I was stressing about finding and beginning work again, and even feeling as though I wouldn't be competent, before I had even completed my second certification exam."
Ben said he had a difficult time picturing himself being successful.
"I had been without solid work for so long. I had the skills before even beginning the certification training, but I feared what was out there in the real world."
Fortunately, Ben found a job soon after in the tech field.
"The feeling of not fitting in, or not being seen for what I was capable of in an office environment, loomed for years until I actually made it into one, and then once I made it into the position, I felt more comfortable than I ever did sitting at home all day in my own closed environment."
Ben is glad he went to the CareerCenter for help and really values the services it provides.
*The name of the client has been changed upon request.