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JCI helps job seekers find success

The Sampson Independent - 1/24/2019

Jan. 23--JCI is continuing to spark success by helping people find employment for a better future.

One of the stories involves Carlie C's in Clinton and Bryan Rivera, a cook in the deli department. He was hired by manager Tina Honrine, by working with JCI, an entrepreneurial, nonprofit group dedicated to empowering people with disabilities or disadvantages.

"It's been different for me in a good way," Rivera stated in a news release. "I like having a job because it has changed my attitude. I basically never talked to anyone at all, and now I enjoy it. I try to follow my orders and do the best I can and try to understand this world. Tina is a great person, I really never had a grandmother but feel like she is one, and I look forward to working here for a long time."

The community-based organization provides vocational training, employment programs, and manufacturing solutions for Sampson, Johnston, Harnett, Lee, and Wayne Counties.

"This was the the first experience I had working with JCI, and I was nervous, but it has worked out well," Honrine stated about Rivera. "He has grown on us, he really has. He was very shy at first, but he has blossomed and is able to kind of cut loose and enjoy himself a little bit now. He's no longer afraid to come to ask question because he wants to do his job correctly. We all just love him and are very proud."

Rivera said he likes meeting new people and was introduced to the store by Honrine after he was hired. The training involved learning how to take orders and learning how to relax along the way, thanks to Honrine.

JCI Employment Specialist Brooke Whaley worked with Rivera and assisted him on the path towards Carlie C's Deli.

"The thing about Bryan is when we first met and talked, he told me one of his hobbies was cooking, and it immediately dawned on me that Carlie C's Deli would be a great place for him to work," Whaley said.

She made calls and Rivera was hired after an interview.

"It worked out perfectly," Whaley said. "It was our first try for him for his first job, and it turned out to be a perfect match. I was really excited. We started training in the deli in August, and I checked up with him for weeks after. For me it's about building a relationship, providing support and encouragement; I will continue to check up on him. I am proud of Bryan and thankful for Carlie C's, I love my job because I get to help people succeed."

According to JCI's 2017-2018 annual report, JCI served 1,126 people and placed 300 individuals with disadvantages and barriers to employment into jobs. The expansion of its pre-employment and transition services also provide resources to more than 300 students in several counties. There was 33 youths enrolled in post-secondary and advanced training and 27 placed in work-based learning.

The Career and Workforce Development Services are set up to help people establish career pathways and secure employment in the five counties that they serve. Partnerships are also formed with organizations such as the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Managed Care Organizations, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. JCI officials said their mission wouldn't be possible without them.

"If anyone asked me about my experience working with JCI, I would tell them it has been completely awesome," Honrine said. "Brooke is a very kind soul, and we thank her for bringing in Bryan. He is like a ray of sunshine and helps make our deli a great place to work. As I said, I didn't really know what to expect, but to see Bryan grow has just been a blessing. You never know how much of a difference you can make until you give someone a chance."

For additional information, visit

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.


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