Ian Learned What Being “Grown Up” Means

Sep 25, 2013

Ian and BJ

Ian (left) and BJ (right). Ian provides job coaching to BJ while on the job at Walmart. Ian says that being a job coach is rewarding and has taught him as much as he teaches the people he serves.

Prior to working at The Arc of Anchorage as a Job Coach, Ian Minton worked for Barnes and Noble. He liked it there; however, he wanted something else. He spoke to the store manager and she thought he might enjoy working for The Arc of Anchorage. The manager helped him discover a passion which is helping people who experience disabilities as a job coach.

Over the past two and a half years he has worked at 13 job sites assisting people who experience disabilities in the workplace, including Wal-Mart, Carrs, AIH, Totem Theatre, McDonalds, Alaska Rock Gym, and his former employer, Barnes and Noble—which is the only store in the national chain with a supported employment program. He also helped with pre-employment training at The Arc. At least 30 people he coached are still working in the community.

When asked why he likes this work, he says, “This is a job you can feel good about at the end of the day. While you are teaching someone how to be successful in the workplace, you are learning what being grown up means.”

He learned quickly that not everyone is motivated by the same goal so he had to understand what a person’s motivation was for working and then help them achieve their goal. Ian says job coaches help the person learn work routines for their position and coach them on how to handle things outside that routine.

Compared with other entry level positions Ian says, “the pay is better than most” and he often encourages his peers to apply for a direct service position.

Ian has not decided on a final career, but feels the experience he has gained at The Arc will be “good for life” and knows that he could be happy working in human services as a career.