November 20, 2019

Community Voices: Meet Ric

Ric Johns photo

Meet Ric!

Today is Ric John’s last day at PPL! Ric, an Employment Training Manager, has been at Project for Pride in Living for almost ten years. In honor of his retirement, we wanted to take a moment to highlight Ric’s contributions to PPL over the years.

What are some of the biggest changes that you’ve witnessed throughout your time at PPL?

I’ve worked in the Learning Center, now called the Career Center for my entire career. I’ve seen an enhancement of our Career Pathways program overall. For example, greater collaborations with employer business partners, like Hennepin County, Abbott Hospital, Dept. of Revenue. They had hiring needs and we created a training program that would help prepare people for employment. These partners were involved in the development of the curriculum, came to the classes to teach, helped with mock interviewing and in a lot of cases, held actual interviews for successful graduates at the end of the program. As a result, more graduates are gaining employment in career laddering positions, which benefits them and their families.

You worked your way up as Employment Specialist, Employment Training Manager, and Associate Director of Employment Training. What have these positions taught you at PPL?

I initially was a volunteer in the computer lab at the Learning Center. I saw that people were coming in who truly utilized the facility to help them work on their resumes and apply for jobs. I wanted to be a part of that. PPL must have liked what they saw in me, as I was asked to apply for an Employment Specialist opening. I applied and got the position. I loved working first hand with the participants, the business partners and staff in teaching and facilitating the program. The position taught me to be prepared and think ahead to ensure things went smoothly, but also be prepared to know that things change along the way! I believe the position helped me to drop some of my biases, and to be more understanding. This way I could work alongside people and support their goals. As Associate Director, I was able to have input into more of our programming and work closer with our great staff.

What does working for PPL mean to you?

Working at PPL has been life-changing for me. It’s broadened my scope of many issues and has enriched my life. I’ve met some wonderful people over the years and am grateful for the opportunity to have worked here.

You’re working in PPL’s new Career Center; what impacts have you seen this new addition have on the public? How is it acting as an asset for the work PPL does?

The Career Center has been an amazing space to work in. It literally doubled our space, so instead of juggling rooms with overlapping program usage, we’re now able to accommodate more needs for classes, workshops, testing facilities and expanded rooms for meetings. It is an asset for our participants; it shows we care and want to provide for them a space that is digitally up to date, comfortable, and open to all.

What will you miss the most? Where do you wish to see the organization go in the future?

I will miss the people the most, participants and graduates, staff, and employer partners. It has been a fun job, with every day being completely different. I love the variety, the ingenuity of our leadership and staff in developing programming, and the excitement staff has when graduates obtain employment. I hope to see the Career Center continue to be the ‘go-to’ for business partners because of the success of PPL graduates as new employees. Life is a journey and it’s been exciting so far. I’m looking forward to retirement and what lies ahead!

Thank you to Ric for taking the time to discuss PPL’s transformations over the past nine years. Your work has influenced many, and you will be greatly missed!