Robert (Bob) Whitlaw was born with bone deformities in both his feet. By age forty, he had four foot surgeries. Bob worked as a machinist and quit his job due to his medical conditions. He joined ReSOURCE’s Apprentice Style program in May 2017, hoping to gain office skills and find jobs where he wasn’t on his feet as often.
In the seven months Bob worked at ReSOURCE as the office administrator, he became accustomed to using Microsoft Office and Excel, performed data entry, fielded phone inquiries, and operated the printer and scanner. Bob also oversaw converting our Appliance Department’s paper documentation into an Excel database to track parts orders efficiently. Through these experiences, he successfully transitioned into a job as a service writer for a leasing company soon after graduation.
He particularly expressed gratitude to Danielle, our Everybody Works AmeriCorps Program Director, saying, “Danielle was extremely patient. I was allowed to make mistakes when I make them…She gave me a lot of encouragement.” For him, the ReSOURCE staff were and continue to be a fundamental part of his journey in transitioning professions.
Recently, Bob lost his job as a service writer after new management took over the company. Pam Laser, ReSOURCE’s Employment and Transition Coordinator, worked with him to ensure that he could find suitable employment.
Bob feels very supported, declaring “Pam opened up my eyes to things that I could do, that I didn’t think I would qualify for. She worked hard on me…I’d write up cover letters…and she will go over and help me figure out what I did right and what I did wrong.”
Pam’s assistance and Danielle’s training allowed Bob to be confident in his abilities and helped him on his path to finding new employment. As he summarized, “Apprentice Style has been awesome. It gave me opportunities to learn.”
Bob now works as a Parts Specialist in The Automaster, a car dealership in Shelburne, where he gets to use his knowledge in mechanics and computer skills to fulfill his tasks. It has been a transformative journey for Bob who is now settling into his new role and excited for what’s to come.