By Robert “Barney” Barnwell
I was registering patients for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at a church in South Minneapolis. The WiFi signal was very weak in the basement where we had setup the clinic. Our first patients would start visiting soon, so I jumped in right away to see how I could help.
Clinics need WiFi to register our patients, connect them with interpreters, and document who has had their shots. After a bit of troubleshooting, I remembered that I had received a technology bundle (laptop + headphones + hotspot) from Minnesota Job Partners. I got the hotspot from my car and we quickly connected our computers to the Internet. We were able to have a successful clinic that day. Everyone involved was very thankful that I had this resource with me. I enrolled in the Dislocated Worker program on August 10, 2020 with my career counselor, Meg. During the pandemic, I was furloughed from the Guthrie Theater, where I had worked as a master stagehand. I’m thankful for the workshops and especially enjoyed Career Exploration with Esther. The Gallup Strengths Finder was a very informative exercise. After that workshop, I got more active on LinkedIn, where I connected with the company that hired me to work at the clinics. The course with Esther and conversations with Meg helped me understand myself, my likes, and my dislikes as I navigate career choices. I appreciate how Meg is a great sounding board. She is always happy to provide timely and current answers to my questions. I continue to appreciate the connections and resources from my career counselor and Minnesota Job Partners. They have allowed me to realize other job possibilities and strengths, which I likely would have never discovered before. It has been a fantastic experience to work in vaccine sites and quickly learn how to register patients and update their medical records.