When you first meet Estan, it is hard to believe that he used to be a quiet, shy guy. With a smile and some polite conversation, he works quickly to move from office to office in the main Boone County Family Resources building taking care of his janitorial tasks. Estan is a member of the Janitorial Training Crew, a program of the Life & Work Connections arm of BCFR, and works twice a week to learn valuable job and communication skills to hopefully land him a job in the community.
Estan is 26 years old and is originally from Nebraska, but has lived in Columbia for last 14 years. He lives independently in his own apartment and is currently looking for competitive employment. “I would just like to find something out there to keep me busy. I am ready for anything,” he says. An added bonus for Estan would be finding something within walking distance of his home, but he is open to any entry-level position.
“Estan has a good attitude and has kept an open mind during his job search,” said Martha Echols, a community skills specialist on the Life & Work Connections team, who works with Estan on finding competitive employment in Columbia. “He has worked very hard on interview skills, communication skills, keeping a professional image, and has made great strides. He knows he needs that work experience to reach other goals he has and he’s willing to try.”
Estan’s dream job would be to start a comic book. He and a group of friends meet weekly to talk about different characters and sketch out ideas of different looks. He said he enjoys working on possible story ideas and character development. “We have some great ideas, but I need to find someone better at drawing than me,” he says. “It’s fun to imagine what the characters are like though.”
In his spare time, Estan volunteers at his church and enjoys watching science fiction movies, playing video games and Yu-Gi-Oh!, a trading card game, with friends. He also has found a passion for creating wire sculptures and figurines. “I mostly make people, but I have made a few dragons,” says Estan. “I’ve even sold a couple of them.”
Maya Tarter, Client Services Coordinator I and manager of the Janitorial Training Crew, is impressed with the changes she sees in Estan. “Estan has come a long way since starting his vocational training on the janitorial crew in September 2012,” says Maya. “He used to be very quiet and hesitant about initiating conversation or tasks. Now, when you see him walk down the halls, he’s like a different person. Estan exudes confidence. He will look you in the eye and offer a polite greeting. Estan takes his work seriously and has consistently put forth his best efforts. I have no doubt that he will do the same when he is hired for his first job.”