Vinfen Connecticut Job Coach Nahkia Williams has made a name for herself at the Vinfen Vocational Training Center. “Nahkia jokingly introduces herself as, ‘the favorite staff member.’ If you ask the individuals we serve and coworkers what makes her a favorite, they will all tell you that she is just fun to be around. She is down to earth, sincere, honest, and a team player. Nahkia is a role model for the Vinfen code of professional conduct,” stated Nahkia’s supervisor, Assistant Program Director Pola Livingston.
Nahkia supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities seeking employment at the Vinfen Vocational Training Center. She described being a Job Coach as “good busy.” There is no typical day for Nahkia, one day she is supporting one individual, the next she is helping six. Her position has two main components, providing on-the-job training at multiple job sites and supporting individuals become more active within their community. Nahkia does not mind that her position has her travel around a lot. “I like being in the community, I’m not stuck in an office. I’m out in the community day-to-day,” said Nahkia.
At each job site, Nahkia helps individuals learn their duties and tasks, build relationships with their employer and fellow employees, and stay motivated. “I’m there in case they need help, but also to help them stay positive. I’m there to encourage them to work. I’m proud to say that the people I mentor at these job sites are hard‐working, dedicated individuals,” said Nahkia. When individuals are not at work, she assists in day outings with providing transportation. Recent outings have included parks, libraries, movie theaters, and museums. “The group decides what they want to do. We give them the option to come up with the location,” stated Nahkia.
“Being a Job Coach, you have to have a lot of patience. You’re doing two jobs – at work and doing work with individuals we serve. You have to keep professionalism and teach the individuals we serve to be professional too,” said Nahkia. She finds inspiration and motivation through the individuals she serves. “We motivate each other,” she said. Nahkia has forged excellent relationships with the individuals she serves. One way she does this is with her coined expression “honest time.” She defines the expression as, “Be honest with yourself and others. Step to the side and talk about how you feel.” When the individuals Nahkia serve need a moment to talk candidly, they will tell her they need to have honest time. She finds it very useful both in her professional and personal life.
Nahkia began her career with Vinfen in 2009 as a Relief staff member and became a Residential Counselor in 2010. In April 2013, she accepted a position as a Job Coach and has continued to be committed to transforming lives by mentoring individuals to learn and achieve their goals.