Women's Programs | Feb 22, 2017 | Back to List
Taylor Cassidy tending to the Butterflies at ECHO

Taylor on the job at ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center tending to her newest assignment, the butterfly exhibit.

After earning her diploma, Taylor Cassidy enrolled in Vermont Works for Women’s Step In to Work program. Taylor felt that Step In to Work would be a good fit to help her to navigate the transition to professional life. Struggling with anxiety, especially in social situations, Taylor said her mental health issues have been a barrier to successful employment.

Crediting the Build Your Skills portion of the program, Taylor says she was finally able to build the self-awareness and assurance she needed to thrive. Reflecting on Build Your Skills, Taylor said, “I learned that I could be confident in myself and still not know the answer. I tell myself that it’s okay to ask questions, it’s okay to not have the answers because the more you do something the better you get.” Attendance in our supportive environment was integral for Taylor to build the confidence and self-esteem she needed to feel ready for work.

Throughout her class time, Taylor found Step In to Work helpful not only for identifying barriers to her successful employment; she was introduced to and practiced approaches and coping mechanisms necessary to keep the overwhelm out of day-to-day and professional life. Taking the skills she learned from class, like conflict resolution, clear communication and what it means to be a member of a team, Taylor moved quickly onto On The Job.

On The Job provides an opportunity to apply the concepts and skills gained in Build Your Skills while at a supervised work experience. Taylor had no difficulty applying her new skills or bringing her newfound confidence to our FRESH Food work experience.

“Having to go in to work regularly helped me form a routine. I have to be there, I can’t just wake up and not go in because I feel tired. I feel motivated and empowered now.”

As an enthusiastic member of our team, Taylor quickly learned the protocol for production of our retail product and easily adjusted to life in the culinary world. Determined to improve how she receives constructive feedback, Taylor would eagerly await her daily performance evaluations. Over the duration of her time On The Job, Taylor developed, refined and practiced her time management, priority setting and leadership skills. Taylor left On The Job and entered the Work Bound stage of the Step In program as her own self-advocate with defined career interests and, for the first time in a long time, the motivation to make her goals happen.

Working one-on-one with our Job Developer in the Work Bound stage of Step In, Taylor wanted to find an opportunity in a field of her passion, animal care. After a few informal interviews, Taylor was about to secure an introductory work experience at ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center. “I’m proud of how quickly I adapted to working at ECHO. It only took a couple weeks for me to get to know the job; now I come in to work and glance at the checklist before going to work.

It feels good to be able to know enough to just go and do tasks myself. It’s satisfying to go from not knowing if I could hold a steady job to actually doing it and even excelling at it.”

Taylor Cassidy at ECHO

Say “Hi” to Taylor caring for the animals in the exhibits at ECHO the next time you visit!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Victoria Irwin says:

It's nice to see you doing so well Taylor!
I have fond memories of our time in the kitchen together.
You were patient, kind, and helpful. :)