Kathy Naylor Uses Her Experience Dealing with her Disability to Help Others Find Their Perfect Job

Kathy Naylor photo

Sarasota, FL – For two decades Kathy Naylor enjoyed a very fulfilling job as an Alzheimer’s and long-term care nurse. However, over the years her Ehlors-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, became progressively worse, making it difficult to stand for long periods of time. Kathy recognized that she could not continue in her particular line of work, so she came to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), a state agency that helps people with disabilities get or keep a job.

She met with VR Counselor Hope McQarrie to plan her next career move. Hope offered guidance and counseling, but Kathy was determined to go back into nursing, just in a new role where she didn’t have to stand as much. Enter Jamie Bennett, with Boley Centers Supported Employment, a job placement organization that works with VR to find jobs for its customers.

Hope knew that Kathy’s background in nursing and training as a social worker would make her a perfect fit as a job coach for Boley Centers. They arranged for Kathy to participate in an On-the-Job Training so she could try out the job to see if it would work for her. During her On-the-Job Training, VR reimbursed Boley Centers for her salary. VR also purchased orthotics to help her walk.

Kathy did so well during her On-the-Job Training that Boley Centers immediately hired her when it was over. “We hired her because she has a gift in dealing with persons with disabilities – having a personal insight and having worked as a nurse and social worker,” says Jamie. “She was more than qualified to do the job.”

Kathy is enjoying her new career and is glad Hope had such faith in her. “I appreciate Hope for pushing me to look outside the box because I really wanted another nursing job. She said I could do this job, and she was right. I love helping the people who come to Boley Centers.”

When asked about the differences between her two careers, Kathy explains, “It’s like comparing apples and oranges. The people I took care of couldn’t do anything for themselves, and now with my new clients, I get to help them move on with their lives and help them succeed.”

Although Jamie works to convince businesses to hire people with disabilities on a daily basis, at Boley Centers they’re not just talking the talk, they’re walking the walk, and for good reason. He explains, “There are a lot of benefits to hiring our clients. They come to us work-ready from VR, and we’re able to polish them up and get them out there to businesses. It’s a very good service we’re offering, but we’re also offering some awesome clients. Some businesses even favor our clients. I’ve had employers who have hired our clients before, come back and ask if we have anyone else who could work for them. The entire community benefits from this government agency and the good work it does.”

Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. The employer-focused website, https://abilitieswork.employflorida.com/, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 90 offices across Florida, and last year helped 5,760 Floridians with significant disabilities get or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit http://www.Rehabworks.org.