This Henry Viscardi School alum developed the skills to help others with disabilities navigate the future.
It wasn’t long before Heidi settled into her job as an Evaluation Assistant at The Viscardi Center. Because for this Henry Viscardi School alum and former participant of the Center’s Business Skills Program, it was a lot like coming home.
Heidi first enrolled as a student at the Henry Viscardi School when she was just four years old, and continued to attend until she graduated from high school. The East Rockaway native then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Molloy College, and later became employed at the Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City—a position she held for twelve years.
But after temporarily relocating to New Jersey, re-entering the workforce proved challenging. So Heidi returned to her alma mater, this time registering in the “Navigating the Future” Business Skills Program at The Viscardi Center, which prepares youths and adults with disabilities for a variety of in-demand office jobs. During the program, she updated her computer knowledge—even boosting her typing speed to an above-average 50 WPM—and established a professional network comprising staff and fellow job seekers.
She also gained in-house work experience by assisting staff in administering and scoring consumer vocational assessment tests, which are used to determine the best career or education options for each individual.
As a self-proclaimed people person, encouraging individuals during the evaluation process came naturally for Heidi. “I’ve always wanted to serve as a role model and motivate others with disabilities,” she said. “I have this desire to make a difference in people’s lives, and I can do that here.”
Then last winter, it happened—Heidi saw an online job listing for an Evaluation Assistant at The Viscardi Center. Confident in the training she received from the program, she immediately applied, using internal contacts as references. A formal offer soon followed.
Now, Heidi is enthusiastic about forging a new career path and guiding others in the community toward their goals. Moving forward, she hopes to expand her responsibilities by conducting sit-down assessment meetings with individuals and their families.
Even when Heidi isn’t behind her desk, she stays on the grind. A favorite past time includes wheeling all two-and-a-half miles of the Long Beach Boardwalk, then back again.
“To move beyond your limitations,” she said, “you need to push yourself.”
Learn more about the Job Training programs at The Viscardi Center.