Finding Independence

Finding Independence

Sean Nebel came to JVS Career & Employment with the goal of getting out of his comfort zone. “I had a hard time breaking out of my shell,” he recalled. Sean had been working two hours a week at a Cicis Pizza that was three miles away from his house. At the time, that was the furthest distance he felt comfortable traveling. He wanted a role with more hours, so his case manager asked if he would be interested in a janitorial position at JVS.

Eddie Baturin, a JVS senior vocational trainer, interviewed Sean, and has been working with him in the eight years since. Eddie said that the interview process was very difficult because Sean was so shy that he would “clam up” when asked questions. “During his first interview, I’d ask him questions and he couldn’t answer. But I said let’s take a chance on him. It paid off in the end.”

Two months ago, Sean started a janitorial position at Elgin Air Traffic Control. He works on the front lines as an essential worker, ensuring that door handles and the air traffic console are up to COVID prevention cleanliness standards. His parents were both laid off during the pandemic, so Sean is the sole source of income for the family. “It’s going great,” Sean reported enthusiastically. “JVS has definitely helped me and allowed me to grow and change. I speak up more and get out of my comfort zone.”

“Over the years, you could really see him change his personality. From being the guy that wouldn’t talk or stand up for himself, now he has a strong personality and is independent,” Eddie said. When Sean met Eddie, he shared his dream of being a professional wrestler like Hulk Hogan. At the time, Sean didn’t have the confidence to approach this desire. Now, he is working for a wrestling company in Indiana, traveling independently on weekends to attend matches. “None of that would have happened if he didn’t come to JVS. He didn’t have the people to motivate and support him. Through JVS, I think he has accomplished a lot.” Eddie said.

Today, Sean is independent and better equipped at controlling his nerves. “If the program wasn’t there, I don’t know where he would be right now. He’s a new person really,” said Eddie.