KSI’s Pre-Vocational program Builds Confidence


Angelia Barnes was referred to KSI’s Pre-Vocational ­services in 2015. She had tried Supported Employment with another service provider, but found she wasn’t ready for the full responsibility of community-integrated employment. KSI’s Pre-Vocational program allowed her to build her confidence and skills slowly for a more stable base from which to try more challenges in the future.

Angelia’s personality is shy and soft spoken, and she is wary of trusting people before having a history with them. “When she gets to know people, she’s very amiable and loyal,” said Case Manager Tom Lyons. “But she has to get to know people before she trusts them.”

Being with peers who dealt with similar challenges to hers at KSI’s Skill Development Center allowed her the time to build strong friendships, as well as personal confidence. Her confidence made it possible to start trying work experiences on KSI’s janitorial crews. The small janitorial groups of five people at a time were more manageable for Angelia than the larger KSI crews at worksites like Procter & Gamble Dover Wipes or Kraft Heinz Foods. She has also volunteered at community sites like the Delaware Veterans Home, where she helps with folding napkins for dining room set up. Little by little she’s learned how to work with a team, as well as communicate her questions and concerns to her supervisors. And soon she will graduate to more challenging opportunities that will further prepare her for Supported Employment.

With more solid, successful experiences under her belt, Angelia will be better equipped when she tries Supported Employment again. “If she finds her interest, she’ll be very successful at it,” Tom added. “She carries herself with great dignity, and is always willing to try new tasks.”