NU worker thrives with job coach 

Contributed photo   Ian Rolfe has been working for Metz Culinary Management, at the evening shift for Niagara University's dining area for 13 years. Twice to four times a month, he meets with a job coach who helps him maintain his employment.

Ian Rolfe works the evening shift at Niagara University’s dining hall in the Gallagher Center. He said his favorite thing is the money – he just bought a new car – and he doesn’t mind taking vacations either.

“Mexico,” he said about the last one. “Not this February, the February before. COVID cancelled everything (this year).”

He supplements his income with mowing lawns in Youngstown and Lewiston where he’s lived since he was three. He said he had a great childhood and is in close contact with his family.

“My parents live in Youngstown,” Rolfe said. “And all my brothers and sisters live in Canada.”

Rolfe has been working at NU for Metz Culinary Management for more than 13 years and is assisted through the People Inc. Supported Employment.

“Typically if people have a qualifying diagnosis they’ll have a care coordinator, and the care coordinator would do a referral right to us,” said Megan Logan, a People Inc. staff member. “I think there are a few different other agencies that supply job coaches, so they always have the opportunity to pick and choose what agency they want to work with.”

Job coaches do just that, said Logan, they support someone like Ian straight from the beginning of acquiring meaningful work.

“We do resume building, we take them on the interview, interview prep questions,” Logan said.

Job coaches are also required to take annual training to learn new skills, job trends and building business relationships. The time is definitely well spent, said Logan.

“A lot of times people really enjoy talking with a job coach and it makes them feel they have that extra layer of support to obtain and maintain their positions. It makes them feel like they have a little extra training and resources,” Logan continued. “And it’s someone they can go and ask questions of, because a lot of things are technologically based now.”

Logan explained that many individuals participating in the program, now have to learn how to work in a more high-tech world.

“Punch in on a computer and all their pay stubs are online, so a lot of the coaches help on that, too,” she said. “The feedback we get is very good.”

At work, Rolfe's supervisor, Tracy Kammerdeiner from Metz Culinary Management, praises him for his dedication to the job.

“He does his jobs the same way every day so he gets them done,” she said. “He’s very knowledgable about anything. He’s very intelligent and he wants to make sure he does a good job. He’s very well liked.”

More information on People Inc. can be found on the website at people-inc.org.

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