Navy veteran Charlie Thompson has always enjoyed working. He spent time as a police officer, a physical trainer, and a gym owner. But a 2008 car accident left him paralyzed and searching for a new career path.
In 2014, Charlie was introduced to the PAVE program and started working with a PAVE vocational counselor. Together, they discussed Charlie’s interests and passions, and then set a plan with attainable milestones for Charlie to pursue his Theology degree. Charlie completed a Certificate in Theology in 2014 and a Bachelor’s degree in Theology in December of 2017.
After his graduation, Charlie pursued paid work from home positions at local churches or in customer service. He started working with PAVE Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Jim Arndt, M.S., CRC, to modify his resume for positions he was interested in, develop his interview skills and prepare him to land a new job. To practice these skills, Charlie participated in PAVE’s virtual employment program, PAVE Connect sessions. Charlie was able to interact with other PAVE staff and gain new insights on how to be more prepared for interviews.
In early 2020 Jim let Charlie know about a position with Virtual Services Organization, Inc. (VSO), a long-term partner of the PAVE program. Charlie applied and aced the interview. In June, Charlie started a work from home customer service position supporting New York State’s Unemployment program. Charlie has worked with PVA National Service Officers and the PVA Chapter in Tennessee and will be pursuing membership with PVA.
Charlie shared, “I have been working with the PAVE program to achieve my career goals. They have been with me throughout the whole process. My PAVE counselor and I have used my experience and skills in finding employment that works for me. Working together and going to PAVE Connect have helped me become better prepared for the employment process.”