Before the COVID pandemic hit, JPII adult participant and JPII graduate Gina C. had a part-time job that she loved. Unfortunately, her employer needed to restructure because of new guidelines, and Gina’s position was eliminated. It was a difficult time for her.
Fast-forward one year, and Gina’s mother reached out to JPII’s transition coach Rene Berkhammer and asked her for guidance with finding another position for Gina.
“At that time, there were a lot of positions open because some people weren’t ready to go back to work, so I knew it was a prime time for Gina and other JPII graduates to begin their search,” Rene says. “I told them that this was their time to shine.”
Gina’s search led her to the Cracker Barrel in Hamburg, where on July 26, 2021 (a date that Gina knows by heart), she began as a member of the night maintenance team. While her job duties include wiping tables and cleaning up inside and outside of the restaurant, her favorite part is interacting with the customers.
Recently, Gina earned Level 4 of Cracker Barrel’s Personal Achievement Responsibility (PAR) program, and she couldn’t be happier and more excited.
“I am very proud because it took me over a year to get to Level 4, and I worked very hard to get it,” Gina admits. “I took a test on the computer and learned how to do a good job.”
PAR is available to all hourly Cracker Barrel employees. There are four PAR levels for each skill position, and they teach elements that are critical to an employee’s development and understanding of the Cracker Barrel culture. In addition to introducing skill sets necessary for a particular position, PAR training focuses on teamwork, relationship building, and partnership. The program is designed to help hourly staff learn new skills and gain greater confidence in their work.
Gina’s certificate is displayed at home so that everyone can share in her accomplishment, and she hopes that her success inspires someone else to find a fulfilling job.
“I am extremely proud of Gina for her accomplishments,” says her mother Tracy. “She always gives her all and takes pride in her work. She has a very strong work ethic, and she doesn’t miss work.”
“I learned that I need to work hard and do what I need to do every time I’m at work. Don’t be nervous about getting a job; just be yourself and do a good job,” Gina shares.