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The Competitive Edge


WIN Success Stories


WIN is very proud of the many successes of the induviduals who have participated in our program. Following are some of these success stories:


Lambert is Runner-up for Prestigious Award

by Frank Shialabba
Steven Lambert was named 2010 runner-up for the prestigious Nettie Mann Award, given annually by the Pennsylvania Industries for the Blind & Handicapped (PIBH). Gary Crowelle, President and CEO of PIBH, presented Stephen the award on Tuesday, June 8 at a ceremony in Harrisburg.
Steven received a $100 cash prize, plaque, dinner at the award celebration in Harrisburg and an overnight stay at a hotel. Steven was most proud of the fact that he met guest speaker Lou Ferigno, and that he was featured in a video montage of the nominees. Stephen was accompanied at the ceremony by his father and BCRC Director of Contract Acquisition, Joanna Greco.
According to Ms. Greco, “Steven works tirelessly cleaning the Penn Dot building and it has never looked better. He even reported to work immediately after returning from his four hour trip.”
Sheila Silbaugh, BCRC’s Director of Employment Services states, “The other workers at the Penn Dot facility have accepted him as part of their staff.” During the two years that Steven has worked there, numerous Penn Dot staff have commented on the tremendous job that Steven does for them.”





Alex Lange is Mr. Clean and More

by Sheila Silbaugh and Frank Shialabba
Aleks was extremely unsure of his future, but was very open to assistance. After completing the initial steps of job exploration, WIN services received a phone call from the manager of MedFast. The manager wanted someone to clean rental medical equipment, who was dependable and thorough. It was vitally important that the equipment, which is reused, be sanitized to perfection. It was obvious from his assessments that Aleks was the man for the job. He interviewed for the position and was hired immediately.
Aleks took great pride in his work and demonstrated meticulous skill in cleaning. He organized his work space and made sure that everything was completed within the required time frame. In addition to mastering job skills, Aleks developed confidence and independence in the community. He learned to take the public bus from Aliquippa, and he discovered the many stores in the area near his employment. Aleks confidently discussed his work schedule with his employer so that his transportation costs were kept to a minimum. He also investigated many wellness activities. Aleks currently is taking a self defense class and rides his bike regularly. He takes great pride in the fact that he has worked for sixteen months and leads a full and successful life.

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"Best New Guy" and Best Buy Make Great Team

 by Abagail Gouldsbarry
Ryan Martin just wanted a chance to be successful. Thanks to his positive energy and the support of Best Buy management, Ryan was given this chance. He began his employment with Best Buy in August of 2008. After only 9 months of employment, Ryan was rewarded by being named “Best New Employee.”
From the moment he entered the Best Buy warehouse, Ryan was a part of a team. Eager to learn and try every available job, he began training with his supervisor, Jay. Ryan quickly mastered sorting packages delivered to the store, and he eventually learned to unload the truck safely and correctly. After becoming more familiar with his job and surroundings, Ryan went to the store floor to stock products. He also successfully learned to use computers to make and print address labels. He is always eager to fill computer orders known as “dot coms.”
While Ryan’s supervisors took time to teach Ryan, they also learned to appreciate his positive attitude. Ryan eagerly called BCRC staff following a Saturday training to explain that he was honored in front of his co-workers and peers as “Best New Employee.”
 When you speak to Ryan about his job, it is very easy to see how much his job and co-workers mean to him. With each new task, Ryan had a patient co-worker, who happily answered his questions. Ryan is always included in work conversations and is trusted to learn new jobs and responsibilities. When asked about Ryan’s work
performance, Jay states that Ryan teaches his peers how to live life to the fullest. Watching Ryan teaches one the importance of life, work, and relationships. As much as Best Buy has taught Ryan, they have also learned from him. For this we salute Ryan Martin and Best Buy management and
employees. Ryan’s motivation and Best Buy’s care for their employees, teach us the meaning of commitment between both management and employee.


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Vicki Perseveres and Does It “Her Way”

by Sheila Silbaugh & Frank Shialabba
Vicki Goehring proves you can be successful by marching to your own drummer. Choosing a different path on her way to her future career, she strongly believes in the adage “never give up.”
Aurora staff knew from the beginning that Vicki was an
“independent soul.” She began her involvement with BCRC’s Aurora Services on 3-21-06, and she worked diligently on her personal goals. She made the decision to go to work, and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation authorized employment
services on 2/28/08. It didn’t take long for Vicki to find a job. In March, 2008 Vicki obtained employment with a contractor who provides services for retail stores at the Beaver Valley Mall.
Vicki, however, did not take the traditional road with a job coach assisting her at her work site. Vicki wanted her independence and as a result, BCRC staff agreed to meet with her before and after her work shift. BCRC stayed in the background and Vicki established her own
relationships with her employer. While BCRC provided support, Vicki developed skills that enable her to be independently attached to the work place.
Vicki solved one of her major barriers with BCRC providing support. Vicki awoke each week day at 5 am to catch a bus that got her to work at 7 am. She also had to work on Sunday, which proved to be more difficult. She tried to find a coworker to ride with, but when that failed, decided to take a taxi. The cost of the taxi nearly wiped out her entire week’s
earnings, but she prevailed. Vicki’s family and friends occasionally helped with transportation and eventually her boss eliminated Sundays from her work schedule.
Vicki encountered many other difficulties during her first year of employment. Through injuries, physical ailments and sickness, Vicki demonstrated a work effort that her employer greatly appreciated.
Vicki celebrated her one year anniversary this past March at Aurora where a luncheon was hosted by BCRC Program Specialist, Sheila Silbaugh.
Vicki’s accomplishments include her positive relationships with her coworkers, having money to buy presents for family and friends, and maintaining her independence. She enjoys the sense of accomplishment she derives from persevering through tough times and doing it “her way.”


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Thinking “Green” Pays off for Dave Colella

by Frank Shialabba
David Colella was thinking “green” long before it became the politically correct thing to do. As a child David loved spending time working with plants and nature’s “green things.” He started a garden at a very young age and dreamed of working with plants for a living.
As David reached adulthood, he hoped to fulfill his dream by taking the greenhouse certification program at the Community College of Allegheny County. David’s dream was put on hold, however, as he was unable to find a practicum at a local greenhouse. For David, “it wasn’t easy being green.”
Instead, BCRC aided David to secure a practicum and training program at Wal-Mart and Goodwill Industries. According to BCRC Director of Employment Services, Sheila Silbaugh, “David excelled at his practicum and skills training programs. He was always pleasant and eager to work. People loved David wherever he went. He did such a good job.”
Eventually, David advanced from his training programs and secured a job at Christy’s Restaurant. David once again showed his desire and motivation to be an “excellent employee.” Ms. Silbaugh states, “David is everything that is good about BCRC and the people that we serve. He puts his full effort into anything he does. He never complains, he never misses work, and he makes friends easily.
David’s persistence eventually helped him to achieve his dream. He was awarded the greenhouse certification by CCAC, and he recently secured a second job at Gumpf’s Greenhouse in Chippewa. Initially, David was hired to water the plants. However according to Ms. Silbaugh, he now does “just about everything, including unloading the truck, pruning and stocking.”
David has achieved his dream of working with “green things”, and he has been rewarded with a little more “green” in his paycheck.


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She’s Gloria(ous) Worker from BCRC’s Early Years

by Frank Shialabba

Many people have passed through the doors of the Beaver County Rehabilitation Center since the 1970’s and 1980’s. Staff members Marianne LaSalle and Frank Shialabba were reminded recently of one of BCRC’s standout workers from that era. Gloria Brandyburg of Mt. Washington, Beaver Falls, was one of BCRC’s top production workers in the agency’s early years. Gloria, who happens to be deaf, was known for her speed, neatness and meticulous attention to detail.
Whenever a job had to be done quickly, BCRC called on Gloria. Whenever a job had to be done accurately, BCRC called on Gloria. Whenever BCRC needed work of the finest quality, Gloria was always there. It was only natural that when BCRC attempted to place workers in competitive employment in the early 1990’s, that Gloria’s name was at the top of the list. In 1992, BCRC placed Gloria at Kaufman’s Department store in Rochester, PA.
After fifteen years of successful employment, BCRC’s Supported Employment Department was called in recently to help Gloria adjust to some changes at the Kaufman’s/Macy’s store at the Beaver Valley Mall. Macy’s has installed a computerized system that Gloria must now use to clock in and out, and check her pay. According to BCRC Program Specialist, Sheila Silbaugh, “Gloria is doing great. Her employer states that she never makes errors and her equipment is always in perfect working order.”
Gloria is a gentle soul, who has been one of Macy’s top employees. She is one of the senior employees at Macy’s, and she has survived many changes during her tenure there. Gloria has continued her tradition of excellent work and attention to detail.
Gloria has gone from a wonderful record at BCRC to a successful career in the community. She is a pleasant reminder of BCRC’s past; and part of our “promise for the future.”


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Shari Will “Make Your Day”

by Frank Shialabba

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Make my day!” Shari Jurasko makes the day of her many customers in Aliquippa because she cares. Shari has worked successfully in the community for the last 16 years because she cares so much about people and about her job.
After working behind the scenes at Pizza Hut for 15 years, Shari decided to utilize her bubbly personality by starting a new career where she could work with people. On May 1, 2006, BCRC placed Shari as a customer service representative at Giant Eagle in Aliquippa. Shari took to the new job immediately. According to Supported Employment Program Specialist, Sheila Silbaugh, “Shari is a very pleasant and kind person. She is always smiling, and she interacts well with others. She is always glad to see her customers, and they are genuinely glad to see her.”
While performing her customer service duties at Giant Eagle, Shari sees many of her customers from her days at Pizza Hut. She makes them feel special with her own brand of warmth and personal attention. They recognize that she is genuine in her feelings, and they are quick to return them.
Shari’s personal attention extends to one customer who always asks for Shari whenever he enters the store. Shari assists the customer, who is disabled, by escorting him around the store and retrieving groceries that are out of reach. Ms. Silbaugh states, “Shari will do anything she is asked to do, and she always does it with a smile. It is very important to Shari that she does a good job.”
Shari’s concern for her job sometime causes her to worry. Encouraged to become more independent, Shari schedules her transportation to work on a daily basis. She worries about whether her DART ride will get her to work on time. She is reassured by both Ms. Silbaugh and her employers at Giant Eagle that she is a valued employee who is making every effort to get to work on time.
Yes, Shari cares, and that spirit of caring is on display every day at Giant Eagle in
. If you need a smile or a friendly hello, stop by and see Shari. She’ll be happy to “make your day!”


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Jakena is Beaver County's Rocky

by Frank Shialabba

Philadelphia is the home of “Rocky”, the fighter who overcame impossible odds to win the heavy weight championship of the world. Philadelphia is also the home of Beaver County’s own version of “Rocky,” Jakena Costen.
Jakena came to Beaver County five years ago from Philadelphia with a young baby, no family, no car and no means of support. She needed a job, but she was a stranger to the area, who did not have a high school diploma. She worried about her baby’s present and her future. She needed a mentor or “trainer” in order to face the fight ahead with hope and confidence.
Jakena’s “trainers” were the staff of BCRC’s Project Success and Supported Employment Programs. Her “gym” was BCRC’s Skills Training Program at Goodwill Industries. Jakena came out swinging and she earned high marks from Goodwill’s Norma Russell. Jakena’s work ethics and friendly disposition earned her a full time job as a cashier at Goodwill.
BCRC staff helped Jakena get a car and insurance. According to Supported Employment Program Specialist, Sheila Silbaugh, “Jakena always did what she had to do. She learned how to survive, and she learned how to be a good mother and a good employee. She gained more confidence with each new challenge.”
Jakena loves people and someday she would like to get a job where she can help others. She does her best now to help her coworkers by greeting them with a smile. She takes time to get to know each of her coworkers and she offers them support and encouragement.
You may not see Jakena running up steps to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger”, but BCRC’s Rocky has won many important battles in her fight for a brighter future.


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