Charles is Colorado State DSP of the Year 2024 Winner!

Charles Mathis, Employment Consultant with Continuum of Colorado was named ANCOR’s Colorado State DSP of the Year 2024!
Charles celebrated winning this prestigious award at ANCOR’s National Conference in April. Here is the nomination that was submitted:
Charles has been an Employment Consultant with Continuum of Colorado for almost 3 years. He is always open to learning and over the past year has shaken up his approach to job development and job coaching. Charles has attended every APSE training course (not a requirement of his position) offered and decided to get certified in Discovery and Customized Job Development. During the year, he completed his classroom requirements and is in the early stages of his practical portion. This certification will allow Charles to continue the work he already does so well, but with people who need a more unique approach to their employment journey.

Charles recently helped cover job coaching for an individual on another EC’s caseload. The EC was going on vacation and had recently placed the individual in a new job right before her time off. The position was, in theory, something the individual should have been able to start with minimal job coaching since he had left a similar role at a different hospital. However, when Charles arrived for the first shift, it was evident that this position required far more responsibility than the previous one. The new management at this job told Charles that the individual was struggling with speed and accuracy. Charles quickly got familiar with what was expected of the individual. It became evident these responsibilities might be too much for the individual to handle. Charles had extensive conversations with management to see where they could scale some
responsibilities back and what expectations were firm. Charles spoke with them about possibly carving out something from the current position that would better fit the individual’s abilities. We heard that the hospital had created a position specifically for this individual. All due to the additional time Charles took resolving a disconnect for this individual (who isn’t even on his caseload).

Regardless of who Charles is interacting with he is always extremely interested in how that person is doing. He is kind, caring, and always wearing a smile. He takes the time to build meaningful relationships with not only the people he serves but everyone he comes into contact with. This has helped build partnerships with others in our agency and aided in building community relationships with employers (something that is paramount to helping the people we serve find meaningful work in the community that is truly integrated).

Charles’s dedication, the ability to help others on his team, and his ongoing pursuit of increasing his own understanding of employment to best serve the people he works with speak to his leadership as an Employment Consultant. Charles is also incredibly eager to learn because he knows that the more he knows, the better he can help the individuals and their families. He will often chuckle and say, “You know me, I am not shy about asking questions or for help when I need it!”

Charles was tasked with job development for an individual with very limited availability due to transportation issues.
Working with this individual can, at times, be a bit challenging due to his own expectations of the process and
communication style, but Charles took on the challenge in stride. Charles and the individual got off to a rocky start because the individual had expectations that he would get placed in a job very quickly; however, when things were not going as quickly as he expected, he frequently reached out to his team members to express his frustration about the process. Charles had his own high expectations and wanted to empower the individual to take a bigger role in the employment search process, which was new territory for the individual that initially he didn’t respond well to. Charles set up weekly check-ins with the individual to review job openings and do résumé development; these check-ins also helped the individual better understand that when applications are submitted, there is often time between the submission and response from potential employers.

Another hurdle Charles encountered was the spoken eagerness of the individual was bigger than the eagerness of the individual to work; for example, they would submit applications to various companies that the individual initially identified as a place he wanted to work, but upon receiving follow-up actions items (interview, questionnaires, etc), the individual would say, “I don’t want to work there.” Charles didn’t let this stop him, and he was able to find employment at Amazon for this individual. The individual was very excited about this placement, leaving a message for Charles’ supervisor, stating, “Charles did a great job. It’s a blessing that he helped me. He got me a job. Charles is the best!” The placement at Amazon required unique training hours, in which Charles had to attend with the individual from 11 PM to 4 AM for a week straight! Charles did this without question while still meeting his other caseload responsibilities. He even attended a team lunch during the week that he could have easily skipped to get some much-needed rest, but as he stated, “It’s only for the week, and I wanted to be here with my team.” Charles is a huge asset to the Supported Employment team!

Thank you, Charles, for the positive impact you make every day on all the people you serve at Continuum!