Smiling Through it All

3245Tsering Dickyi had never earned a fair wage paying job. For the last decade, Tsering was paid subminimum wage while working at a sheltered workshop in Minneapolis, despite the lack of informed choice and years of subminimum wage at a stagnant sorting position. One of the first things that you notice about Tsering when you walk into a room is her infectious smile.

In July of 2017, Tsering made a decision that would change everything. Tsering decided to leave the sheltered workshop to achieve her personal goals, one of those being a job that would pay at least minimum wage. Community Involvement Programs, Supported Employment Services was ready to assist her with this goal! During her intake meeting, Tsering apologized as she held back smile after smile while talking about dreams of her own, dreams that could not be supported by working in a sheltered workshop 5 days a week. She spoke of moving out of her family’s home in Apple Valley and moving into Uptown Minneapolis. Tsering did not know how to accomplish these goals while working in a stagnant position with little to no income, flexibility in hours, and inconsistent workloads.

When Tsering started with CIP she was shy so her Employment Consultant met with her3244 and her close family over the next two weeks to discuss specific skills that Tsering had, special interests of hers, and businesses throughout the community she would be interested in working for. Throughout every meeting, Tsering’s smile was always present. Less than one month later, Tsering got a chance for a fresh start and was offered a job at Hampton Inn in Eagan, MN where she is now the Public Area Inspector.

hampton inn

“We’re Open” is what the sign hanging from the roof of Hampton Inn reads even with major renovations going on. It seemed like an open invitation to Tsering’s Employment Consultant to see if there was an opportunity to put two and two together; Tsering’s constant smile and her housekeeping skills she expressed in previous meetings.  After emailing Karen, General Manager at Hampton Inn, a meeting was set for that afternoon and Tsering was offered the job on the spot. With new renovations throughout the hotel, a new position was needed, Public Area Inspector was customized specifically for Tsering.

3240Tsering is now working five days a week at Hampton Inn and is in charge of keeping the hotel’s public spaces clean. From the elevator lobby to the pool and spa area, Tsering greets each guest and co-worker throughout the hotel with a smile and a laugh. Tsering has found a sense of pride and purpose in her work and an even greater sense of community at the hotel with her co-workers. Tsering now has even more to smile about and is one step closer to living her greatest life!

Author and photo credits: Erik Larson, Employment Consultant

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