“If you identify individual strengths they have and work with employees to structure positions so that it plays to those strengths, it’s a win-win for the job-seeker and employer.”
Mike Edwards, Employment Specialist, ERI
Bret Kuhn enjoys his job doing dishes and coordinating with other staff at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Union South. He likes listening to music while working, his over $13 per hour pay, his co-workers, and the scheduling flexibility he needs. And Union South appreciates that he’s there.
“We’re better as a society if we engage everyone’s hands and minds,” said Carl Korz, Wisconsin Union Director of Dining and Hospitality.
Homeless and Unemployed
Bret was homeless and hadn’t worked in 20 years when he accepted the job at Union South. Mike Edwards, an Employment Specialist at ERI, supported Bret to get a job and is working with him to find permanent housing.
A Win-Win Partnership
Bret’s job opportunity is a result of a partnership between Porchlight, a Madison-based nonprofit that strives to reduce homelessness, and Wisconsin Union. Because Bret experiences Tourette’s, anxiety, and depression, he benefits from working with an employer who is willing to provide a modified work schedule and additional support.
And not only does Union South benefit from having an employee who’s a good fit, but they’re able to offer students learning opportunities around diversity in the workforce and exposure to the issues of homelessness. As part of the partnership, the Union hires a student intern to work with Porchlight in a communications, social media, and event planning capacity.
Bret’s story and the partnership between Wisconsin Union and Porchlight was recently featured in Madison’s Cap Times. You can read the full story here:
Learn More about Employer Partnerships
Visit Porchlight online for more information about their services and programs.
Explore ERI’s Employment Counseling Services for employers and job-seekers.