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OFFICE SKILLS INSTRUCTOR

Jeri Lucas

There are many important jobs at Orion: manufacturing, shipping and receiving, management, job development… the list goes on and on.

But mentoring is Job One. And Jeri Lucas is a mentor’s mentor.

Jeri is Orion’s Clerical and Customer Service Instructor at the Auburn facility, and in just a few months, she will be celebrating eight years with the company. Over the course of those eight years, Jeri has devoted herself to Orion’s mission of helping others. And for her, this means mentorship.

“Instructing is what I do. I teach and coach and provide soft skills training for the program participants here at Orion,” Jeri said. “It’s not like out there on the shop floor, where you’re a mentor plus you have production goals. And that’s a real advantage for me.”

The benefits that come with Jeri’s ability to focus solely on her trainees are clear. She takes pride in their success, but not for her own sake. “I’m proud of my students and what they accomplish. They may come up and thank me at the end of their program, but the truth is they did all the work. They made all the accomplishments.”

I can come to the Training and Employment staff with a situation and they never tell me exactly what I need to do. Instead, it’s more like ‘Did you think of trying this…?’ or ‘Have you tried addressing something this way…?’ It’s really a benefit for everyone who goes through the program because there is a full team behind them.

– Jeri Lucas / Orion Mentor

Which isn’t to say that Orion staff doesn’t have to make adjustments on the fly. “We’re a cooperative and sort of collaborative group,” Jeri says. “I can come to the Training and Employment staff with a situation and they never tell me exactly what I need to do. Instead it’s more like ‘Did you think of trying this…?’ or ‘Have you tried addressing something this way…?’ It’s really a benefit for everyone who goes through the program because there is a full team behind them.”

That team is benefiting from Jeri’s experience, too. Because not only does she train Orion students, but other Orion instructors as well.

But in the end it’s all about the people who take that first step toward building a career, and join an Orion program. “On a regular basis the people who come through Orion remind me what we ourselves are capable of. Sometimes we just need a little help and encouragement.”

It all starts with a commitment to change lives: your own, or others’. If you’re among the former, you’re lucky to have a mentor like Jeri. We’re lucky to have her, too.

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