Q: Describe a typical day as the Program Manager for Employment Services.
Peggy: The goal of the program is to help people find, get, and keep jobs. In my role to help achieve this goal, on any given day I collaborate and coordinate with staff, mental health providers, employers, and both state and national Individual Placement and Support (IPS) managers and researchers. I manage the IPS and Employment Services grants and prepare reports. I occasionally see clients, but mainly leave that in the capable hands of my staff!
Q: How did your career path lead you to your current position at Guild?
Peggy: I have a BS in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Wisconsin Stout and an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Minnesota Mankato. I have worked my entire career in Vocational Rehabilitation. My previous work experience was with individuals with a variety of different disabilities. Both my education and previous experience provided me with what I needed to be successful at Guild.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Peggy: I enjoy being a support for the staff who work in Employment Services as well as being a resource for other staff and programs in the agency. I love being able to brainstorm and collaborate one on one with staff as well as do this as a collective team. Each of us has such creative ideas which adds to the richness of the team and everyone is willing to share their ideas as we all come from a different angle.
Q: What’s your proudest memory from working at Guild?
Peggy: I am proud of the fact that the program has grown over the years as we have taken advantage of the opportunities to apply for and be awarded various grants. When I started at Guild (oh so many years ago!) I was the only Employment Specialist amongst a sea of social workers. Currently, there are Employment Services in Ramsey, Dakota, and Scott County!
Q: What do you wish people knew about Employment Services?
Peggy: Employment Services staff are excited every day to help people reach their goals. They love collaborating with their mental health teams (yes, you social workers!) which makes the work more enjoyable, and better outcomes can be achieved.
And I want people to know that we have a chicken as a mascot, whose name is Clucky!
Q: Why is Employment Services important?
Peggy: Work is one of the best treatments for our clients and is such an important part of recovery. As you know work gives people a sense of purpose, provides structure, helps improve self-esteem and life satisfaction, reduces substance use and provides health care, and reduces social isolation. And work provides a paycheck!
Q: What do you do in your free time?
Peggy: My cat, Milton, and dog, Ellie, are fun to hang out with and made great office mates as I worked from home during the pandemic. I enjoy connecting with nature through hiking, biking, and camping. I enjoy reading, cooking, and connecting with family and friends locally and in WI and MI. I look forward to doing more traveling; a trip to Iceland in October is my first “big” trip in a few years! My latest passion is paddling on a Dragon Boat team! Paddles up!