Rakeen’s Journey to Independence

Meet Rakeen, an individual in Ham Lake, Minnesota who quantum leaped from an Opportunity Services work team to independent employment. Here’s more about his employment journey:

Rakeen started working with OS at the Coon Rapids location where he immediately excelled at both the University of Minnesota work team, as well as the Blaine Parks and Recreation team. He discovered that he really liked to work and wanted to be working every day of the week. His need for an independent job grew quickly! To start his transition to independent employment, Rakeen was able to travel to the Opportunity Services offices in downtown Minneapolis on his own 2 days week and still participate with his work team in Coon Rapids for the rest of the week. He truly enjoyed getting to know the OS administrative staff and learning how to use the bus routes in Minneapolis.

Even though Rakeen was happy working in Minneapolis, he still yearned to work independently. That’s when he met with the Supported Employment team to start the job hunt. Mike Hansel, Opportunity Services Sales & Marketing Manager, met with Rakeen to discuss his employment goals and interview tips. Rakeen had 5 interviews before he was hired at his current job at the AmericInn. “I would get up every day and practice for my interviews in the mirror,” said Rakeen. “I was determined to have my own job.”

Rakeen nailed his interview with AmericInn by sharing that he was willing to do whatever it takes on-the-job and that he would clean anything. Because of that, he got the job on the spot and started training the very next day! He currently works 5 days a week doing housekeeping: cleaning rooms, stocking cleaning supplies, taking out the garbage and more. At first, there were some hurdles with Rakeen’s schedule- AmericInn wanted him to work all the time! But with the help of his job coach, Emily Mohr, his schedule was all figured out and hasn’t been an issue since.

Rakeen truly loves his job! He is very happy to make money, but he enjoys his job for many reasons, including his respectful co-workers, the nice customers and free food. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” said Rakeen. “All my other jobs were important too because they lead me to this job, which I love!”

Rakeen is quick to thank many people that have helped him on his quantum leap journey to independent employment. He is thankful for his sister, Tara, his mom, his 2 children (his biggest motivation!), everyone at Opportunity Services, his previous co-workers, the staff at his apartment, his housemates, as well as his current boss and co-workers. In the future, Rakeen hopes to continue working at the AmericInn doing a job that he loves. In his free time, Rakeen likes to play video games and participates in 4 different Special Olympics leagues: basketball, softball, bowling and floor hockey.

Rakeen’s employment journey is a great example of never-ending determination! He never gave up in his goal of an independent job, and excelled every step of the journey. Everyone at Opportunity Services is very proud of your success, Rakeen- way to go!