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Media contact: Eileen Sigler, 541.780.5137


Different Approach Leads To Self-Sufficiency Success

Categories: Email Newsletter, Self-Sufficiency, Staff Stories
Author: SVdP Staff
Date: Monday, November 26 2012
Harold McCain, left, and his well placed worker, Glen Treiber.

Harold McCain, left, shed light on his job candidate in advance, and LightSmyth Technologies liked what they saw.

Glen Treiber is delighted to be working at LightSmyth Technologies in Eugene. Not so long ago he wondered if he’d ever work again. Thanks to his past accomplishments, a skills upgrade, and a dedicated SVdP employment specialist, Glen has a job that he loves in his hometown, with time left over for his passions, gardening and cooking.

Now 57, Glen was living the American dream when he was hit by a perfect storm of professional and medical misfortune. A manufacturing engineer in Silicon Valley for 25 years, he lost his job in 2002 when the company changed hands.

Complicating things further, the medication that had controlled Glen’s epilepsy for 35 years quit working, causing some organic damage. Among other affects, prospective employers were discomforted when Glen had seizures during interviews. As time wore on companies were less interested in anyone who had been unemployed for a while.

In 2004 Glen and his wife sold their Sunnyvale home for five times what they had paid, giving them a cushion to get reestablished in Oregon and devote time to his father and her mother during their final illnesses.

And Glen worried about the future and the medical condition that was proving a barrier to his employment even if the State of Oregon didn’t see it that way. In 2006 Glen’s first application for vocational rehabilitation was denied because epilepsy wasn’t considered a disabling condition.

More recently Glen’s wife, newly graduated from college herself, “dragged” him for another look at St. Vinnie’s Self-Sufficiency Services program. Employment Specialist Harold McCain recognized a brilliant man whose barriers to employment, seizures and occasional delayed response, in no way related to his skill set. But the significant difference was that epilepsy now qualified as a barrier to employment, qualifying Glen for educational courses and vocational counseling.

From 2009 to 2011, Glen worked as an unpaid intern at a daycare center while taking courses at Lane Community College and earning other software and network-management certifications. Meanwhile he and his Self-Sufficiency “team” formulated a strategy to get him employed.  Additionally, Glen’s medical condition was stablized.  

Since Glen’s major barriers were beyond his control, Harold and the team focused on enlightening prospective employers. “I convinced Glen that we would use a new approach of informing prospective employers ahead of time of Glen’s barriers,” Harold said. “This way the interviewer or panel would understand that Glen’s inability to fire back with an answer to their question wasn’t because he didn’t have the answer at hand. It would just take longer to process through the channels of his mind.”

Interviewers who got that information were more understanding and gained some insight into Glen’s daily ordeal. The eventual employer, LightSmyth, is a homegrown company populated by youthful, enthusiastic brains who use nanophotonic tools to fabricate stunningly colorful silicon gratings for use in telecommunications, sensors and laser technology. They even produce fabricated jewels that outsparkle the most radiant gemstones.

Glen likes that LightSmyth is small enough to be entertaining and close enough to home for a bicycle commute. When he bikes he wears the green reflective jacket that was a congratulatory gift from Harold McCain and SVdP Self-Sufficiency Services.

Glen continues his training for network management – he has four certifications -- and watches the job alerts that land in his inbox. The number has grown, from as few as one a month last year to several on some days, leading Glen to believe that the economy is healing.

Still, he doubts he’d have a job now if it weren’t for Harold McCain’s door-opening strategies. For his part, Harold was energized because, as he said, Glen “possesses a beautiful mind, far superior to most, including my own.”

But he would have worked just as hard for anyone in SVdP’s Self-Sufficiency Services, which serves State Vocational Rehabilitation clients and low-income veterans.

“Finding employment opportunities in Lane County is what we do,” Harold said. “The Lindholm team strives for employee, and employer, success."