They Just Don’t Get It

I called DARS today — that’s Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services to you non-Texans out there.

I reminded the counselor that we had talked more than six months ago, looking for help finding an internship … but if not, soon he would be graduating and, in the eyes of the state, “underemployed.”

Well that day is here, and could they help with a job search and a coach, like they did with Albertsons, only with a tech job?

She said just about every way she could that she couldn’t help, and I listened and listened. Then when it was my turn to talk, I said, I’m not sure what all I just heard here, but essentially I heard that you can’t help.

Oh, no, she said, that’s not it. I just don’t want you to have any expectations that we’ll be successful this time. The providers they work with don’t have contacts in the tech world. The best network will be the one I can make for him. Besides, the job market is really soft, no one is getting hired. We could be at this for a very long time.

Essentially, repeating herself, but objecting to my characterization of what she says.

Yeah, I get that at work a lot.

But, I kept my mouth shut on the characterization and went searching for common ground.

Sam needs help navigating this alien world of job-searching. He needs help searching and applying for jobs. He needs help with the interviews. And once an employer is ready to take a chance on him, he’ll need help for a little while — and so will the employer — understand the expectations and learning how to communicate with each other.

Mercifully, at some point, before she could reply to me with another round of negativity, either my phone hung up on her or her on me.

The guys at nonPareil have seen it — Sam understands and works hard. He loves to solve problems, and he has a lot of stamina and thinking power to do it.

I called Gary Moore, who collects stories like these because he hears from parents every day, just to add to the pile. The pile know as “DARS just doesn’t get it.”

He called back and did some brainstorming with me. Lots more than required, but I appreciated it. He reminded me that Sam built a bunch of computers during his internship with nonPareil, computers meant for DARS clients.

But DARS can’t help him find that employment.


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