Breaking down What we do and How we do it

Our goal is to assist people who experience developmental, intellectual and/or learning disabilities find and keep jobs, in the Eugene/Springfield business community. We also educate businesses and the public at large as to what these amazing individuals can achieve. So let me give you a rundown of how we go about accomplishing all of this.

creative ideas pbc

Our clients are referred to us by a state or county agency, or even a brokerage, depending on the services that are needed.

DISCOVERY  – The Office of Developmental Disabilities, under the Department of Human Services, may refer a person to us to initiate Discovery. The discovery process is a 60 day (or a maximum of three months) exploration into  ‘Who the individual is’. It gives insight into our client’s strengths, skills, interests and abilities in regards to employment. We gather this information by visiting the person’s home environment and favorite hang-outs and interviewing family, care providers, and teachers –  just about anyone who can help us draw a bigger picture of the personality of the discovery participant. We may also visit places that the client frequents or sites that the person has some interest in learning more about and have him or her demonstrate their abilities in order to give some additional insight and guidance during the next part of the job search process. After gathering all of this information, a report is written up that will be used to inform and assist the person’s job developer when the time comes to enter into the Job Search.

For a more in-depth explanation about the Discovery Process follow this link:


JOB SEARCH – Our clients are referred to us by The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Clients may interview various agencies to determine who they feel will best serve their needs with the aid of a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor.

For more information about The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation use the link below:

Pearl Buck Center’s Community Employment Services accepts referrals of individuals who are deemed ready for community-based employment. This means the individual has a desire to be a part of the working community and has shown the skills and behaviors required for a workplace setting, such as; appropriate dress and hygiene, work appropriate language and social skills, willingness to learn, as well as the ability to follow directions and be on time. We are committed to the individual’s employment success by working with his or her’s team, planning of how he/she will get to and from work, being on time, and having the support necessary to attain and maintain long term employment.

We then conduct our own mini-discovery process by sitting down with the client and finding out about their interests, prior work, work study, and/or volunteer experiences as well as discussing what type of work he/she is looking for.

The VR counselor may have us create a Portfolio to prepare and aid the job seeker in his or her job search. This part of the process will take about 30 days. For this portfolio, we will create a Resume, Cover Letter, Master application, and, when helpful, a Blog entry and display piece that can be shown when we approach employers or show businesses touring our facility. We also practice interview skills, handing in resumes and applications and discuss what to wear –  skills we will continue practicing throughout the Job Search process.

Once all of these materials are created, they are presented – along with a Job Strategy Report outlining the plan we will use to carry out the job search –  to the VR counselor, client and his/her team for approval and input.

With the Discovery report, Portfolio, and the Job Strategy plan completed we are now ready to get down to the business of looking for work!

The Job Developers go out speaking with businesses about potential positions. We also scour online job sites or even scout out leads given to us by friends and family of the job seeker – in search of the right fit. And contrary to the popular belief that we have businesses “in our back pocket” ready and waiting to hand out jobs, we must constantly find and speak to new employers – learning what they do, sharing what we do, and exploring what a business can do if they are willing to rethink how they currently do things and hire through us.

We like to have our clients as involved in their job search as possible and aim at taking them out to visit businesses at least once every other week, if not more. We may assist the client in conducting Informational interviews with employers to determine what is done within the business, what types of jobs they hire for, and the skills needed to perform the job. We may ask our job seekers to approach employers to inquire if they are hiring, in order to see how we can improve upon the job seekers method of interactions. We may also assist the client in filling out online or paper applications with the aid of the master application.

We will accompany the client to interviews and, when permitted, sit in on the interviews, giving input when necessary or appropriate. We will also train and assist the client in proper etiquette for before, during, and after the interview.

It is often hard to say how long this process will take. Everyone is different, with different abilities, needs, and desires. Our goal is to find a job that best suits each client’s abilities and interests, not just place them in a job for the sake of a placement. We realize that in order for a person to be successful s/he will need to work in a job that will build upon what foundation has already been laid, yet allow the person to continue to grow.

We have been successful in placing individuals in positions that not only stretch their own perception of who they think they are but also gives them more skills and experience to continue to build upon. So with this said, the job search may take less than a month or more than 3 months. During the job search, the job developer will make monthly reports that are given to the VR counselor relaying the progress or barriers of the job search process.

Once a job is found and the client has worked three days and is satisfied, we contact the VR counselor and ask for training hours. These training hours will span a 3 month (90 day) period with the idea of gradually fading our presence, giving the newly employed client the chance to learn his/her tasks as well as gaining some built in supports and work related independence. The job developer will also determine what types of augmentations are needed and implement them. At the 90 day period it will be determined whether the client is successful and if so their file with VR will be closed. If the client has ongoing supports, their brokerage or DHS will take over the Job Coaching.

JOB COACHING – At this point in the game the brokerage or county will hire an agency to provide a job coach to support the employed client with their job. The job developer will hand the reigns over to the job coach; introducing him/her to the client, employer, and co-workers, as well as train the coach. The job coach will then support the client in performing the job, gradually fading this support when appropriate, and check in with the employer to make sure that they are satisfied and determine whether there are more tasks that the client can take on or if the job can be expanded. The job coach will make monthly reports depicting the progress, concerns, achievements or roadblocks the client is making. These reports are given to the brokerage or county for review.

There you have it, what we do and how we do it. We hope it helps give you a better idea of the process that we follow and the time and effort that we at Pearl Buck Center invest when assisting a person find work in his or her community.

If you would like to know more or have questions, please feel free in contacting us at: 541.484.4666

or email us at:





Job Seeker: Sarah Carter


Meet Sarah, she’s interested in landing a job in the childcare arena. Presently, Sara enjoys assisting with the childcare every Wednesdays at her church.Sarah C

Sarah is working on completing her food handler’s card, infant first aid/CPR, abuse reporting and getting registered in the national criminal registry. She then plans on getting some training in how to be a teaching assistant. This last item is something that she really looks forward to because it will allow her some hands-on experience to actually interact with the kids.

Sarah says that she likes how easy it can be to interact with kids and at the same time it can be challenging, but fun just the same.

Sarah envisions herself; playing with and reading to children, helping with craft projects, preparing snacks, cleaning, sterilizing toys, and organizing. These are all well within her capabilities at this juncture of her job search. If you know of a place that could utilize Sarah’s abilities, please contact, Doris Steele at or call 541.484.4666 today and let’s talk.


Pearl Buck Center: out in the com-munity

Did you know that Pearl Buck Center has been finding and securing jobs for people with disabilities for over 27 years?

Here are a couple of our past community employment public service announcements, perhaps you remember seeing them in the past or have spotted these smiling faces about town.



Job seeker: Amanda Smith

Meet one of our newest job seekers; Amanda. She is interested in finding a job where she can learn new things and make a living for herself. Amanda would like to find work that entails working with animals, or stocking, cleaning, customer service,…actually she is interested in just about anything, where she can learn and grow and made to feel a part of the team.

This young woman feels that she  has the skills to; stock shelves, wash dishes, clean office spaces or clean up after animals. Amanda says that [she] “just wants to work and I’ll do just about anything.”

Amanda loves animals, especially her dog Banshee. She has been volunteering at the 1st Avenue Animal Shelter for a little over a  year now as part of her work study in the Community Living Program during the school year. She also willingly volunteered during the summer last year, just because she likes being around the animals so much.

Could you use someone like Amanda in your business or know of a place that would make a good first job for her? Can you think of a way to create a place in your work site that could accomodate Amanda and her abilities? Contact her job developer; Lorie Polk at

Amanda Hired

What can YOU do?

What can you do?

It’s a simple question that can be answered in any number of ways. And yet it isn’t asked nearly enough in regards to people living with a disability and employment options. People experiencing disabilities can do much more than any of us often imagine, that is, when given the encouragement and opportunity to stretch themselves and learn. And this shouldn’t be much of a surprise given that is all any of us needs to succeed.

When those experiencing disabilities can live up to their true potential and actively pursue the jobs of their dreams and abilities, everybody wins.

What can you do?

When people are willing to become mentors and show others how to become better versions of themselves and learn what they’re good at, everybody wins.

What can you do?

When people who own or manage businesses take a leap of faith and challenge themselves by thinking outside the box to see where they can utilize the skills and abilities of people with a barrier to employment, everybody wins.

What can you do?

And when any of us really looks at another human being and recognizes and allows for the similarities AND the differences, we all win.

What can you do?

Everyone wins, because everyone is included and made to feel valued, important, needed, useful, involved and a part of something bigger than themselves.

We know that it isn’t always easy to figure out how to switch gears and try on a new way of thinking, that’s where we at Pearl Buck Center Community Employment Services can assist and guide you along the way. You don’t have to do this all alone, we’d be more than happy to help figure out how best to implement and utilize a new employee, how to go about mentoring someone who is interested in your field of work or find a place of employment that fits your abilities.

Who I Am Poster; Vander Cherry
Who I Am Poster; Vander Cherry

Check out The Campaign for Disability Employment Public Service Announcements asking this very same question…What Can YOU Do?

The Campaign for Disability Employment is a collaborative effort to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace. In business, the investment that drives innovation is talent. The knowledge, skills and abilities employees bring to work each day are by far the assets that yield the most output over the long term. Whether good economic times or bad, it’s the organizations that know how to identify and recognize talent that are most likely to succeed. Through its national public education effort, What Can YOU Do?,The Campaign for Disability Employment reinforces that people with disabilities want to work and that their talents and abilities positively impact businesses both financially and organizationally

If after watching you are compelled to really investigate What can You do? contact Pearl Buck Center Community Employment Services and together we can figure it out. []




Employment Success! On the job with Kang Eui Hong

In May, we introduced you to Kang Eui Hong, who sought an opportunity to stock shelves.  Today, we’re thrilled to post an update: in August, Kang Eui successfully landed a job with a local Dari Mart in Coburg, Oregon.

Kang Eui’s manager hired him to help keep Dari Mart’s coolers stocked during the busiest part of the day.  In preparation, Pearl Buck’s employment consultant worked closely with Kang Eui and his manager to design Kang Eui’s shift, so that that both he and Dari Mart were set up for success.  From there, it was up to Kang Eui–and from the very first shift, it was clear that Kang Eui planned to give this job his 100%.


Kang Eui approached stocking with consistent hard work, thoroughness, and attention to detail.  He quickly mastered the basics of the task, and then began working with his Pearl Buck job support staff to improve his speed and efficiency.  It soon became clear that Kang Eui was ready to take on some new responsibilities; within a few months, his manager added bagging ice to his daily routine.


Soon, Kang Eui will celebrate three months of successful employment.   His manager reports that his work is excellent, and recently added five more hours per week to his schedule.  We look forward to watching Kang Eui continue to grow, thrive, and turn this opportunity into a success story for everyone involved.

Want to congratulate Kang Eui?   Give it up in the comments below!

Job Seeker: Lonnie Ofsthun

Lonny's Poster

Meet Lonnie a very dependable & determined guy who knows what he wants. Lonnie comes from a family of truck drivers and his dream is to one day get a Commercial Driver’s License. He is currently seeking a part/time driving position. He would like to get some more experience driving a large truck but will settle for any position that puts him in the driver’s seat.

Lonnie has been driving since 1987; he has a current noncommercial driver’s license with a farm endorsement, a clean driving record and recently passed a USDOT physical exam.

He has a history of longevity with past and present employers. Currently employed at Goodwill Industries since 2011 as Warehouse Assistant sorting donated clothing items. Prior to that, he worked at a Northwest Auto Auction driving vehicles to and from dealerships for 9 years. Before that he was cleaning stalls and operating a Bobcat at Eugene Live Stock for 7 Years. He also has some experience driving large farm trucks and trailers.

Work is very important to Lonnie, he shows up on time and ready to work each day. He says, he is at his best when he is behind the wheel. If you or someone you know is looking for a part time driver who is eager to learn, you can contact his job developer; Linda Cox at 541-337-9498 or by email at

Job Seeker: Barbie Bodin

Barbie is a peppy woman who is eager to put her 4 years of dishwashing experience to use. Barbie worked at Mackinaw’s Restaurant in Washington prior to moving to Springfield. She washed dishes, did some light food prep and cleaned floors while working at Mackinaw’s. When asked what she liked about that job, Barbie responded with “It was easy, I loved doing it, it’s Fun! I like to get it done.”

Barbie says that she is very positive- “I always see the good side”, organized-“I keep all my things in their place”, and a hard worker- ” I just want the job done. I don’t mess around. I’ll do what needs to be done without attitude.”

Barbie has an updated Oregon food handlers’ card and is ready to get to work when she isn’t out hitting the pavement looking for work on her own or with her job developer, Barbie is volunteering at the United Methodist Church, serving food to the homeless.

If you feel that you have room for this outgoing, hardworking, go-getter on your team give Doris Steele a call at (541)484.4666 or email her;



Job Seeker: Kirk Hatalla

Kirk is a quiet young man who lives with his family in the outskirts of Springfield. He is interested in finding part-time work in either the  janitorial or production arena. His dream job would be working in housekeeping in a hotel.

Kirk has been working at Pearl Buck Center in the spice room packaging Red Ape products and has found that he really likes this type of work.

The main reason that Kirk is seeking work is to gain experience and earn some money, but mostly he wants to stay busy so as to not be bored. He feels that he is a hard worker, with the intent to do the best that he can to ensure that the job gets done. Kirk has enjoyed working alone in the past because it is less distracting, however, he has thrived working in the Pearl Buck Spice room with his co-workers, making friends and working hard to get the tasks completed.

If you feel that Kirk would fit in with your organization or know of a place that would benefit from having Kirk as an employee, please contact Doris Steele;

Kirk's PosterHired!

Employ-ment First!


You’ve no doubt seen billboards and LTD buses around town, with the Employment First-“I Work, We Succeed” slogan.  Here’s are a couple of the posters:

Vicki's I work we Succeed posterGeneric DHS I work poster

Curious as to what this is all about?  Well, we made a video about it. Hopefully, you will find it informative.

Don’t hesitate in contacting Pearl Buck Center’s Community Employment Department if you would like to discuss this topic further, or help you figure out how you can get involved. We would love to talk with you,…over tea, perhaps?  ; )  or (541) 484.4666

For more information, check out these links:

Employment First

DHS Employment First

The OregonEmployment Learning Network (OELN)

Association of People Supporting Employment First (ASPE)

GOWise- Washington Initiative for Supported Employment

United States Department of Labor

Oregon’s Employment First Facebook Page

Employment First Facebook Page