Published On: October 24, 2023

Pathways to Opportunity is a program designed to provide intensive services for individuals with disabilities who want to create their path to a good future with a promising job. The program is funded by the Lilly Endowment’s Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis. Career navigators guide candidates through individualized steps toward economic independence. Candidates must have a disability, live in Marion County and meet income level requirements.

Linda is a recent Pathways to Opportunity participant. In fact, she is the first person who started the program in November 2021, as well as the first person to complete all aspects of the program in August 2023.

Linda learned about the program from our partner organization Circles. Her goals stretched beyond simply finding a position, as she has had success as an employee in various service fields. Her goals stretched more towards an occupation – a career in a field where she could see growth and longevity.

“I started the Pathways to Opportunity program because I knew I wanted to make changes, but I did not know where to begin. The staff – the career navigators – had resources and they knew how to help me with my goals towards a better future,” said Linda.

Linda obtained employment at OneAmerica as a support representative. She scans information, checks for accuracy and assigns the documents to the appropriate location. She is part of a team and she is excited to learn and work with new computer programs. She looks forward to attending workshops to further her learning. Linda knows that she is a dependable, hardworking team player and she hopes to move up within the company when the time is right.

Crediting the Pathways to Opportunity program and its staff members, Linda feels that circumstances worked together to help her build connections and gain confidence. Beyond her professional goals, she also worked to obtain a better credit score, find a more suitable apartment and purchase a dependable car. She knows that the program helped her learn to hold herself accountable and make her push herself to get things accomplished.

“The Pathways to Opportunity program was created to fill a need in our community for individuals with disabilities who are ready and committed to making positive changes in their lives. The program focuses on creating meaningful, individualized paths that will lead to careers that can enhance and elevate quality of life for participants,” said Marjorie Duryea, who oversees the Pathways program.

Linda still has goals, but she is more confident about achieving them now that she is employed in a position that she loves. At some point, she hopes to return to school and she is working towards a routine that will allow for better overall physical health.

“Changes don’t happen overnight. The program raises awareness and helped me do things that I did not know how to do. I learned how to understand the workforce better, and I learned more about budgeting my money and the importance of saving. Most important, though – I have learned to be confident in myself. I can do whatever I put my mind to; it just takes hard work and dedication,” said Linda.

Amicia Ramsey from WISH spoke with Linda during October to learn about her career journey. Watch the video below.