A few years ago, Ken came to Rise for career planning and job placement support. He had had a three-year break in his computer science career due to mental health issues and found re-entering the workforce to be challenging as a few years away can mean monumental advancements in systems, hardware, and software. Ken was admittedly discouraged.
Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of Alberta (Canada) in 2002, Ken worked for 13 years as a software developer in Canada before moving back to Minnesota with his family. He had the education and the experience, so he could get the job interviews, but explaining his long employment break to potential employers was difficult and he wasn’t getting any job offers.
Ken’s Rise employment consultant approached Cummins to see if they would be willing to offer Ken a three-month internship so he could get some up-to-date experience and boost his self-confidence. They offered him a consignment contractor position on a small team managing various IT projects in Cummins’s Fridley and Shoreview offices which lasted more than a year.
“I was upfront about any issues I had and everyone at Cummins was very supportive,” said Ken. “I really felt that everyone valued my work and wanted me to be successful.”
When a business analyst position opened up earlier this year, Ken applied for it and went through three rounds of interviews before being selected; he began working as a fulltime Cummins employee on July 10.
“Cummins has a core set of values which are carried out in all aspects of the company,” Ken noted. “They stress diversity and you see that not only in all the different nationalities represented in their workforce, the many people from Rise working in the Fridley manufacturing plant, but even in how each person’s viewpoints are listened to and respected.
“Many of my co-workers know of my disability and are supportive, but they also have the same expectations of me that I’m going to deliver. Both their support and their respect mean a lot to me. I want to help make things happen.”
And despite it not being easy for Ken to talk about himself, he spoke to professionals and consumers presentation at a mental health conference this past year about what a positive impact working has had on his overall health and well-being as well as the importance of effective support services.
Not adverse to challenges at work or on the homefront, Ken and his wife are the proud parents of five children, ages 7, 9, 11, and 13-year-old twins! Their lives are hectic, but happy.