Networking Leads to Success

Networking Leads to Success

When Alex moved from Israel to be closer to family in the Chicago suburbs, he did not have a plan in place for employment.

“My transition to the U.S. was a little stressful,” he admits.

As an industrial designer with an electrical engineering background, Alex also has entrepreneurial experience and had designed an adaptive seat for children with disabilities when he lived in Israel. His main goal when he came here was to re-establish his business and secure funding for his adaptive seat - called the Testa Seat - but in the meantime he needed to find work to support his young family.

The turning point came when his mom learned about JVS Career & Employment from an acquaintance where she works, so she pushed Alex to make an appointment. He was matched with Career Counselor Sandra Saltzman, who guided him through the steps to finding work.

“Even though we do not work in an entrepreneurial capacity, we have a lot of people come through that have their own start-ups and they need employment,” Sandra said. “He was doing small contract jobs to have an income stream, but his main premise was getting this startup off the ground.”

Alex said that finding employment in the U.S. is different than in Israel, so he had much to learn from Sandra. She taught him how to fill out applications, as well as who to speak with for different jobs.

“Networking is a huge part, an important part,” Alex said. “Thanks to JCFS networking I found freelance (work) that helped with additional income.”

Sandra said Alex’s positive spirit shone through during her time working with him, and his networking eventually led him to Pittsburgh, where he settled with his family in a Jewish neighborhood nearly a year ago.

And just recently he got the good news that he received funding to start manufacturing his adaptive seats.

“I just had a lot of faith and felt intuitively that he was going to have success,” Sandra said. “What we do not only benefitted him in general employment, but it benefitted him entrepreneurially, so he was able to take those skills and knowledge and take it a step further, and now has several grants and a company that wants to go into manufacturing to move that product forward.”

But Alex’s networking isn’t stopping there.

“In addition to this amazing milestone and the process of networking, we (together with many key people in Pittsburgh) created the 412 Ability Tech eco system, with the purpose of connecting all professionals and organizations in the disability field to share ideas and create new opportunities,” he said.

And speaking of networking, “This journey actually started with my mom's networking skills and the interest to connect with people locally,” Alex said. “I’m just grateful I took the chance.”

If you need help with your career search, call 855.275.5237 or email Our career counselors work closely with you to collaboratively develop a comprehensive plan to address your specific employment needs. Learn more about JVS today.