Dakota’s Story: Gaining Independence Through Employment

Image of Dakota at work

Dakota is a senior at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua. He has a knack for cooking, a friendly smile, and a strong work ethic. He’s also a Wisconsin Promise participant.

An Ambassador for Youth and Adults with Disabilities

Dakota was chosen by his school to become an Employment First Student Ambassador when it was awarded an Employment First Partner Grant through the Wisconsin Board for People with Disabilities. In this role, Dakota is developing leadership and public speaking skills by sharing his employment experiences with local businesses and service clubs.  He encourages and inspires them to employ youth and adults with disabilities.

An Internship Leads to Permanent Employment

Dakota started an internship at Lake of the Torches Resort Casino as a busser in the Eagle’s Nest restaurant in December 2016, with the help of his Promise Counselor. Three months into the internship he was hired on as a permanent employee and given more duties around the dining area. Dakota gained independence at work with the help of a job coach.

Loving His Job and Dreaming of the Future

Dakota loves his job, especially lending a hand to the cashiers, chatting with customers while refilling their drinks and earning a paycheck. During the school year, he works 15 hours a week and is looking forward to an opportunity to increase his hours soon.

He is contemplating Project SEARCH at the Howard Young Medical Center for the fall and has the dream of living on his own someday.

Dakota is a youth with Promise!