"I didn’t think I would be able to accomplish stuff like this," Keshod Anderson said.
Anderson gained the skills and confidence he needed to succeed through the Basic Employment Skills Training (BEST) Program.
Anderson graduated from Hannibal High School just a few weeks ago and is already working full-time in at Hannibal Regional Healthcare System in their Environmental Services Department. The position offers benefits like paid time off, health insurance and a retirement plan.
Anderson secured this position at Hannibal Regional after participating in the BEST Program during his senior year of high school. The program is designed for students who have disabilities. Students learn the skills they need to become employed after high school.
The program is led by Learning Opportunities/Quality Works (LOQW), a United Way Agency, but it is a collaborative effort with Hannibal Public Schools, Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, and several other partners.
"The Best Program helped me," Anderson said.
During his senior year, Anderson went to Hannibal Regional every day for coursework and on the job training. In the classroom, he learned soft skills and gained confidence. A job coach helped him learn what to do in his role in the Environmental Services Department. In this position, he cleaned bathrooms, water fountains, and elevators.
"When I first started the job, I felt nervous," Anderson said. He soon overcame his nerves and earned a promotion through his strong work ethic while going through the BEST Program.
Staff members at Hannibal Regional, LOQW and Hannibal Public Schools are proud of Anderson and what he accomplished through the BEST Program.
"I am more independent with my life," Anderson said. "I am able to work on my own."
Anderson didn’t have aspirations for his future prior to his senior year and his participation in the BEST Program, he said.
"Before the program, he planned to stay with me after graduation," said his grandmother, Mary Anderson. "He would have never gotten this far without this program," Mary said with a smile on her face.
The four students who participated in the program’s initial year all obtained employment after graduation and their driver’s licenses. The program will continue to serve students with disabilities to prepare them for the workforce during the 2019-20 school year.
"I would love to be an inspiration for other people," Anderson said.
He has become an inspiration to employees at LOQW and the other organizations that made this program possible.
LOQW will benefit from the 2019-20 United Way GIVE HOPE Campaign. United Way funding allows LOQW to offer programs in the community.