Disability lost its grip, and she found LCSNW ‘dream job’ in Portland area

by | Aug 1, 2023 | Behavioral Health, Staff Spotlight

Every LCSNW team member has a job-search story filled with unique challenges. Catherine Hill, a recently hired Mental Health Clinician, completed a long journey in which she faced the adversity of being legally blind. But the route was made smoother by Catherine’s determination and by several helpful connections she made along the way.

Catherine’s employment at our Beaverton office was facilitated by a partnership between the Oregon Commission for the Blind and WorkSource Oregon. Together they assisted Catherine as she took the first steps on a transformative career journey and found what she calls “her dream job.”

After completing her master’s degree in social work at Portland State University in 2021, Catherine did some informational interviews, worked on her professional skills, and poured herself into being a mom. She attended a job-search class and made a friend with whom she found mutual support to navigate the challenges for mothers who are visually impaired and trying to enter the workforce.

I think it is important to expect that disability has an added level of emotional and practical challenges,” Catherine said. “However, I found knowing that I am not alone and learning from others like myself lightened my burdens.”

In March this year, she connected with WorkSource, which built her confidence, strengthened her self-advocacy skills, and opened her to the possibility of working as a full-time clinician.

“When I read the job posting that my contact at WorkSource suggested, I could not believe how Lutheran Community Services matched all my values and was just what I imagined as the right situation for me to grow,” Catherine said. “Yes, it was my dream job.”

The Oregon Commission for the Blind provided coaching and technology tools to be successful in her work.

“She’s brought exceptional learning skills and is doing her part to build good relationships with team members,” said Judy Werner, Catherine’s supervisor at LCSNW. “Having her on our team increases our diversity in ways that many of us rarely think about.”