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A New Job Means a New Direction for Asante Coleman

Asante Coleman has settled in to his relatively new position working at the Crab Tree Valley Mall in Raleigh.

He’s been working as a custodian there for about six months. Unlike some of his previous jobs, this is a different experience that allows for stability and a positive, inclusive environment.

“It’s something I can keep for a couple years or so,” said Coleman. “My co-workers are all nice people, we all get along,” said Coleman.

Coleman was diagnosed with a learning disability and mild depression. Unfortunately, not all his prior employers have treated him with compassion and respect.

“He was feeling defeated before and this job helped turn it around. It’s helped his ability to advocate for himself,” said Danita Horton, the individual placement support (IPS) team lead for Wake County. “He’s better with money and budgeting and he’s more vocal about his needs now.”

When Coleman first started getting therapy at Monarch to cope with his depression, he mentioned he had been out of work for almost a year and needed help finding a job. The process of a job search through Monarch is something he said he learned from as well.

“I needed something to keep my housing. Monarch helped me with applications, going to job fairs, and how to better handle interviews. It was a good experience,” said Coleman. “Those are things I can take with me in the future.”

While his diagnoses can be a struggle, he hasn’t let them stop him from pushing forward toward his life goals. Horton said Coleman enjoys taking on challenges that can expand his abilities.

“We check in with him at work and see how things are going. We like to see how he’s balancing his work life and his personal life to make sure he’s meeting his goals; keeping his job, keeping his housing and making sure it’s affordable,” said Horton.

The IPS team also connects him with programs like NCWorks that help him explore his interests, build his resume and determine a direction for his future.

“I’m figuring out what my interests are and thinking about some things I can do as a career for the rest of my life,” said Coleman.

For now, Coleman said he’ll continue working at the mall and is taking his time thinking about what his passions are and how they could turn into a potential career.

Photo: “Monarch helped me with applications, going to job fairs, how to better handle interviews. It was a good experience. Those are things I can take with me in the future.” - Asante Coleman

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