Before Justin Wicker arrived at Vocational Rehabilitation in April of 2019, he was struggling to continue to work in unsupportive and physically demanding fields. Justin’s prior work history was varied, including some commercial truck driving and customer service related fields. At the time of his intake appointment, he was most recently working in freight and manufacturing/warehouse positions. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2018, Justin completed surgery and subsequent treatment to remove the tumor and keep his cancer in remission. Despite this triumph, the cancer, combined with his chronic condition of ulcerative colitis, left Justin with physical limitations that made it impossible for him to keep up with the demands of warehouse work. He experienced fatigue and exhaustion when he returned to this field; culminating in collapsing six hours into his last shift.
Initially, Justin felt he needed a bachelor’s degree in order to find comparable employment that supported his disabilities. When he faced challenges that disrupted this initial plan, Justin did not give up and persevered to work with his rehabilitation counselor to develop a new plan that not only satisfied his vocational needs but did so in about a quarter of the time. Justin and his counselor explored the 700-hour program and short-term vocational training through Job Opportunities in Nevada (JOIN). After completing his program with flying colors and enrolling in the 700-hour program, Justin quickly obtained employment as an Administrative Assistant II with the Bureau of Disability Adjudication in March. This job was in line with his physical limitations and one in which he could be successful. In addition to receiving job placement assistance and job training assistance, Justin also received monthly guidance and counseling appointments, a gas card, work/interview clothing and assistance with medical supplies to help him overcome the added expenses and stresses of an active job search.
Even during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Justin has not only been able to maintain his position but expand it by taking on new responsibilities and training opportunities. He enjoys his job and is a valuable colleague in the state’s continued work to assist individuals with disabilities.