Meet the Skills Team: Sherry Gearhart, Career Developer

What is your current role at Skills?

I’m the Career Developer for Blair, Bedford, Somerset, Cambria, and Indiana Counties.

How long have you been with Skills, and what other roles have you had while you’ve been here?

I started as an Employment Training Specialist in Cambria County on January 23, 2017.  I was promoted to the Career Developer Position in August 2019.

What does a typical day look like for someone in your role?

Employment Services is very diverse and has many aspects.  We are constantly changing gears.

I assist my manager with reviewing and comparing Daily Documentation forms to our various billing systems. I also assist with finding coverage or covering for staff that may have called off or have conflicting schedules due to job placements, assessments, or shadowing services.

I also reach out to businesses that we either have never worked with in the past or perhaps regain relationships if it has been awhile since we have partnered with businesses.  I assist my manager with program monitoring and assist staff when my manager is off or taking part in other work-related activities.

How does your program help people overcome obstacles in their lives?

Employment Services is Community Based and promotes community inclusion. During Community Based Work Assessments, we are assisting individuals to see if they are ready for employment, what supports would they require to be successful, would the individuals require assistive technology, and what other services would benefit to assist with being successful in employment as well as promote independence.

Job Development and Job Support we assist with finding, learning and maintaining a job that an individual is interested in with in their community. Paid Work Experiences gives youth that are still participating in a schooling system build their resume while getting experience at a community employer location.  Job Shadowing assists youth that are still participating in schooling to help them decide if they want to go straight into employment or some sort of continued education.  All of these services help people overcome obstacles in several ways such as improving their mental health by having the same opportunity with paid work as their fellow community members with or without disabilities, earn extra money to afford to take part in activities that perhaps their SSI or SSDI may limit them, create natural supports in the community by making friends and or acquaintances outside of paid support, some folks we support may not have any other income like SSI/SSDI that paid employment is even more of a need with in their life expenses.

How do you determine what type of support someone needs in order to best help them?

Determination of supports varies depending on the source of the referral and what the referral requests.  Typically, if a person is unsure of what direction they want to go with employment the persons and their team supports the Community Based Work Assessment to assist the individual to decide based on real life experience.  All services are Person Centered.  Ultimately, the services is based on the wants and needs of the person seeking services.

What do you love about working at Skills?

There are many reasons why I love working at Skills.  I would say the opportunities of professional development, growing with in the company, and the positive effects for those we support and the community we all live in.

Interested in a career at Skills of Central PA? Visit our careers page to learn more about opportunities that are available in your area!