With a flurry of early and organized activity, Gwen Caro has made significant strides in less than two months on the job. Caro is the new employment specialist for Rosewood Services Inc., beginning her new position on March 5.
“Gwen brings such a focused intensity to her position that she’s already made a major impact on Rosewood and on the community,” said Rosewood executive director Tammy Hammond. “Her role is vital to the success of our clients, especially with state legislation now emphasizing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”
The Kansas Employment First initiative act, signed into law last May, requires state programs and services to promote competitive employment for people with disabilities, who are of working age.
Getting started, Caro met with each of the eligible Rosewood clients. Through conversations, she discovered their interests, career goals and life goals, along with job and employer wishes.
“The most important thing about this match is to understand what the client’s limitations or his abilities are and matching him with the correct employer,” said Caro. “You can only do that if you know the client.”
She’s followed her initial steps by calling on employers, visiting businesses and attending community functions in an effort to trumpet her message that Rosewood is a valuable resource for area employers and she is their consummate match-maker.
“I will never have 100 percent placement because I would rather not send someone to a job, if I know it’s not the right match,” said Caro. “What that should mean, however, is that the relationships we establish today with employers will stand the test of time.”
Her efforts have netted early results as some businesses have already become acquainted with the employment opportunities that Rosewood provides.
“We’ve got firm commitments from several businesses and we are going to formalize arrangements for volunteer opportunities and internships for our clients,” explained Caro. “That serves an important purpose for the businesses and it gives our clients, who have not had any formal work experience, an opportunity to work in a structured situation with supervision and orientation.”
Caro comes to Rosewood after serving as a manager at Larned State Hospital for eight years. Originally from Russell, she returned to Kansas a decade ago after living 20 years in the Atlanta area, where she worked in corporate marketing and management roles.
“What is really exciting is that I get to take this position from its infancy and help to mature it,” explained Caro. “Rosewood is an incredible community. Folks here are caring and they are willing to support each other. With that positive culture, I have an energy and a passion about my new position. What more of a base could you want than what Rosewood is offering to me and to the community?”
Caro earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Fort Hays State University. She is married to Vincent Caro. The couple reside in Larned.