Relationship-building helps with job placement in Huron County

It seems at times as if most of the world is made up of two kinds of people: Those who lead, walking in front of the crowd and loudly urging others to follow; and those who stand silent in the shadows, watching and waiting for others to show them the path.

mike-rey-jpg-1On occasion, though, you encounter a third type, that rare person who leads quietly and confidently, yet seeks no recognition or praise for a job well done — and who is often uncomfortable as the center of attention. Mike Rey, community employment job developer for the Huron County Board of Developmental Disabilities (HCBDD), is just such an individual.

“I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of people who make me look good,” Rey said. “All I do is get a door open and get them the opportunity; they take the opportunity and run with it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s just people. I try to do a job match based on what the employer’s looking for and what the person’s looking for. It’s like any other relationship; you don’t always get the perfect match, and sometimes you have to try again

Rey, who held a similar position during his 28-year tenure at Stark County DD, has spent the past three years with HCBDD building strong working relationships with individuals with disabilities, their families, and local businesses. “I usually get the initial referral from Lisa Cossin [HCBDD’s Director of Community Integration] or OOD [Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, formerly known as the Bureau for Vocational Rehabilitation, or BVR],” said Rey.

“Then I meet with the person, get to know about their interests, past experience, where they live. … I almost always drive by the individual’s house, because if you can find a job where you can walk to work, that’s a bonus. I’ll help them develop a resume, fill out job applications, and take them to interviews. If there are businesses near the person’s home, I might just stop in and ask about the possibility of employment. You never know unless you ask. Once they’re hired, I’ll visit them at work two to four times per month for three months, just to make sure the relationship is solid and the fit is right.”

Story originally appeared in the Norwalk Reflector

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