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Woman’s Visual Impairment Doesn’t Hinder Motivation to Work

Jessica, 21 of Lincoln, was ready to do more. She had jobs bussing tables or washing dishes, but she wanted to work with people and expand on her skills in food service.

Thanks to a job fair at Center for People in Need, Jessica got that opportunity when she was hired by Hy-Vee to prepare pizza and pasta for their Italian Express menu.

“Jessica had a vast amount of food service experience along with the desire to work,” said Julie Wolfgram, Human Resource Manager at Superior Hy-Vee on 27th St. “She will definitely be an asset in the Italian department as a clerk.”

The job fair is one of many coordinated by EmployLNK, a task force that includes Bryan Seck, Employment Skills Developer for Prosper Lincoln. Job fairs like this are designed to help people gain access to skilled, in-demand jobs and fill in-demand positions.

Jessica attended the job fair on a field trip with other students for a class offered through the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

“The timing was right,” Jessica said. “I wanted an opportunity to try something new.”

Counselors at the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired helped her fill out the online job application and helped her prepare for the interview. They are working with Hy-Vee and Jessica to make accommodations for her disability. The Commission provides a job coach to oversee her work while she improves her speed and accuracy. A magnifier allows her to better perform her tasks.

“I have a lot more positivity and motivation in my life,” Jessica said. “It encourages me to get out and talk to people.”

Wolfgram finds the career fairs organized by EmployLNK to be a helpful recruiting tool. “It gives us an opportunity to meet one-on-one with members of the community that may not have thought of Hy-Vee as an employment opportunity,” she said. “We have numerous departments to work in, all of which require a helpful smile, but a skill set that can accommodate a vast variety of potential employees.”

Quotes From Our Supporters

Prosper Lincoln is one of the most exciting community engagement and community-building efforts happening in the country.  It’s a real model!

Dan Cramer, Co-founder, Grassroots Solutions, St. Paul, MN

Prosper Lincoln will not only benefit all of your kids and your community; it is also a model for similar efforts around the country, thanks to the leadership of LCF.

Richard Ober, President & CEO, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Founder Community Foundation Opportunity Network; Concord, NH

Communities across the US are searching for innovative initiatives to improve economic opportunity and mobility.  We can all learn from the amazing work of Prosper Lincoln!

Brian Collier, Executive Vice President, Foundation for the Carolinas

Prosper Lincoln is breaking new ground in economic revitalization without displacement.

Ellen Shepard, CEO, Allies, Chicago, IL

To see an entire community come together to ensure all Lincoln residents are successful is very inspirational.  Congratulations!

Nancy Van Milligen, President/CEO, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, Dubuque, IA

In my regional and national work in community development this is one of the most unique and exciting strategies for true change I have seen!

Del Gines, Senior Community Development Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Omaha, NE

Bringing together a multi-sector group of committed Lincoln residents will support prosperity for all.  Congratulations on this excellent collaboration.

Holly C. Sampson, President, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Duluth, MN

Diverse voices from across Lincoln came together so that current and future generations can thrive. This is no small feat, and it’s inspiring to see that collective vision inch closer to fruition. You can consider yourselves a model for other communities starting to embark on this work.

Megan Powers, International Program Officer, The McKnight Foundation Minneapolis, MN

There is no better example of the power of convening than Prosper Lincoln! Bringing together members of the community from all walks of life to enrich the City is inspiring.

Regine Webster, Vice President Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Washington, DC

Prosper Lincoln is creating a national model for building vibrant, equitable and resilient communities.  Systems thinking + the right resources!

Sandy Wiggins, Chair, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Washington, DC

Prosper Lincoln is an important approach to solving community problems. By bringing together local businesses, nonprofits, neighborhoods, government and faith organizations, they are bridging divides, building connections, and sparking opportunities in way that shows true community engagement.

Vikki Spruill, President and CEO, Council on Foundations

This is one of the most impressive community focus efforts I have seen. You are making considerable progress!

Cynthia Hardin Milligan, Trustee and former Chair of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI

Lincoln is one of a few cities across America where citizens and leaders from across different sectors have come together to tackle their community’s most complex challenges. Your ability to already show results and persevere is inspiring.

Ben Hecht, President and CEO of Living Cities, Washington, DC

Solving tough national problems like the opportunity gap begins locally, and Prosper Lincoln is leading the way.

Robert D. Putnam, Professor of Public Policy and author, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

There is nothing more powerful in securing a community’s long-term health than evolving a shared vision through community engagement. Congratulations!

Rip Rapson, President, The Kresge Foundation, Detroit, MI