Stocking Social Capital

Abdul has always been ready to work. He always has a smile on his face and is ready to take on any challenge. After high school, he worked a few short seasonal positions in the Twin Cities, but couldn’t find full time employment. Since joining Community Involvement Programs, he’s had several part-time positions,  but had difficulty maintaining these positions long-term.

Abdul's first day on the job

Abdul’s first day on the job

A part of the reason why his positions didn’t last was the lack of clear communication from his coworkers and managers.  Abdul has complete hearing loss in one ear and 80% hearing loss in the other. In addition, English is Abdul’s second language making it a challenge for him, as speaking Somali is his most comfortable form of communication.

Several months ago, on Abdul’s initiative, he secured an interview at Walmart in Eden Prairie. Abdul’s Employment Consultant, John, helped him fill out the application and arranged for an interview. Although not many job seekers receiving supports from Community Involvement Programs would end up interviewing at a Walmart, this wasn’t any ordinary interview; several of Abdul’s family members work at this particular store and gave Abdul the necessary tips and information to have a successful discussion and even arranged for a Somali manager to conduct the interview! With the support from Abdul’s own circle of friends and family, he was offered an overnight position stocking shelves.

Since starting in early October, Abdul has completed his training and is now working independently, with minimal supports. Luckily, Abdul has family members and friends who provide him with “natural” supports and can answer questions for him while working his long, overnight hours. He is adjusting well to his new work schedule and has been enthusiastically stocking shelves working alongside people from many cultures, including his culture of origin, in an incredibly supportive environment.

Contributing Author John Kruse


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