Pierce can quote verbatim from hundreds of movies. He dreams of being an actor, director and producer. His favorite play is “Sweeney Todd” and his favorite film is “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” attesting to his broad range of interests.
And now, after a paid internship secured through Careers Industries’ Partners in Integrated Employment program, Pierce has the backstage knowledge to continue to pursue his career passion.
Careers Industries’ PIE program provides job training and employment opportunities for adults with disabilities, including paid work experiences or internships funded by the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. PIE also matches employers with qualified talent. In this case, a young man with a great love of performing arts inspired our job developers to contact the Racine Theatre Guild.
“Pierce is no different from you or I being a huge movie buff with a knack for reciting his favorite lines,” says Careers Industries job coach Lisa Goroski. “This was his first work experience after high school and proved to be the perfect role for a budding young actor.”
Chris Reinhardt, technical director for the Racine Theatre Guild, says: “I had some preconceived notions going in but I was wrong pretty much on all of them. Until you meet a person and get to know them, you don’t know what they are capable of. You need to give every person a chance. All of our volunteers took Pierce in from day one just like one of the guys. It was good for Pierce to be surrounded by others to look up to as mentors, and a great experience for our other volunteers to serve in that role.”
Chris and theater volunteers trained Pierce how to use saws and a variety of power tools, including drills and crowbars. He also assisted with tearing down, rebuilding and painting stage sets.
“They were putting legs on platforms with drills and large screws. Chris went over the process and the angles,” says Goroski. “I was able to provide Pierce with hand-over-hand support and remind him of the best body position to get the right leverage.”
An onsite job coach, such as Lisa, is a valuable component of all paid internships arranged by Careers Industries. Pierce cited that support as an important element of his internship.
“Careers Industries was there to help make me familiar with jobs I needed to do, and Chris and the staff helped me with a bunch of things, especially when it came to automatic tools,” Pierce says. “But my favorite thing was painting the doors because it was the most relaxing job.”
Since the Racine Theatre Guild is supported primarily by volunteers with just a handful of staff, Pierce was not hired for a full-time position. As he explores other job opportunities, Pierce plans to continue to volunteer at least once a month and Reinhardt is happy to have Pierce’s help.
Careers Industries welcomes the opportunity to place qualified interns at other local businesses or nonprofits. There are a number of business benefits from recruiting interns and employees through Careers Industries and our partnership with DVR including free onsite job coaches and tax credit opportunities.
For more information, contact Careers Industries at 262-752-4100.