John: Lighting the Way to Independence


Lighting the Way to Independence

If you find yourself driving down St. Paul Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, chances are you’ve passed a historic building displaying fancy lights. This building is home to Brass Light Gallery, a local company that produces newly manufactured interior lighting, exterior lighting, and restored antique lighting. Once inside, you’ll find a manufacturing floor, rooms full of dazzling chandeliers, and a warehouse that is being organized, piece by piece, by a gentleman named John.

John is a client in Broadscope’s Employment Services program. He works twelve hours during the week sorting and fixing inventory including electronics, tools, and light fixtures in Brass Light Gallery’s warehouse.  John says “I like working here because it’s part time, on the bus line, and I really like my boss. I’m kind of a negative thinker, so he’s always lifting me back up.” For people like John who struggle with mental health issues, having an understanding boss and a positive work environment is paramount.

Sorting items in the warehouse is definitely a niche job, but as Jeff, the plant manager at Brass Light Gallery, explains, “I knew right away during the interview that John was the right person for the job. I asked him to identify 12 random items in the warehouse and he did it, no problem.”

John landed the position after being referred to Broadscope’s Employment Services program through the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). He had been searching for work for five and a half years, and had grown frustrated with other agencies placing him in jobs that weren’t the right fit. He worked closely with one of Broadscope’s Employment Consultants to identify what type of work environment he would thrive in. Based on his job skills, previous work experiences, and personal preferences, he was placed in a temporary work experience at Brass Light Gallery. Just a couple of weeks later, John was offered a permanent position.