Your self-directed employment assistant

Michelle Vrieze spent several years working in the education field, and then went back to school for her Master’s Degree in Human Services. Currently she works as a Staffing Specialist for MCIL -- meaning that she matches clients with PCA’s in order that their personal care and homemaking needs are met. Read on to learn more about Michelle!

How did you get started at MCIL as a Personal Assistant Staffing Specialist? What initially drew you to it?

I came upon my position in a very non-traditional way…truly networking. I was working the reception desk of another company and the director of this agency came across my path, and said “You need to be working for MCIL. Call me when you are done with school.” A little over a year ago, I did that, and they were just posting the Personal Assistant Staffing Specialist Position. The Director remembered me, I interviewed, and here I am.

I was looking for a position that would impact the lives of people with disabilities, and also one where my own disability would be seen as an asset, and not a liability.

What is your favorite aspect of your position? Why?

My favorite aspect of this position is, as I said, the fact that it is directly impactful to people in their day to day lives. This position is never boring, and the to do list changes daily.

What part of your career has been the most challenging? Have you found ways to work around it?

Most challenging? Red tape when it comes to getting paperwork we need to provide services. It takes forever at times, as though you are trying to move a mountain with a beach shovel. You can’t really, get around it, it’s a balance between perseverance, advocacy and persistence.

It's no secret that there's been a lot of hardships and difficulties in the realm of hiring reliable direct support professionals. In your opinion, how could the shortage of successful hires be addressed?

Addressing the staffing shortage is difficult. We need to increase the appeal for being a direct support professional. Provide training, and opportunities for advancement. Above all—think outside the box in terms of recruitment.

Is there any wisdom or advice you'd like to impart on our members as they are beginning their career searches?

Career search advice? Network everywhere and be open minded!   

Thanks again to Michelle for her time and words!

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