Job developer profile: Doris Steele


This week’s post is authored by contributor Clayton Cone.

Doris Steele has worked as a job developer for the Pearl Buck Center for 26 years and as a job developer for a different employer for 16 to 17 years before that. She has former clients who have been working on their jobs continuously for as long as 8 years, 10 years, even 25 years. Over the course of her career, Doris has placed hundreds of clients in jobs.

One former client found his dream job at Valley Tool and Die in the Glenwood area. In high school he had had a shop class that he really liked, and he wanted to work in a machine shop. Doris found Valley Tool and Die, and the shop owner said he could give Doris’ client a try. Her client succeeded. The shop has a new owner, but her client is still there today, 25 years later.

Another former client also has been highly successful on the job. She started out as a part-time dishwasher at Fox Hollow Assisted Living, but the head of the kitchen there said that she had “too much potential” for that. The facility promoted her first to a server and then to a full-time caregiver at 10 hours a day, which is where she is now.

Doris says, “You need to be in the right place at the right time to get a job.” So she makes a lot of effort to get there, making contact with 30 to 50 businesses a week. She e-mails, talks with owners and human resource departments, sends letters and walks in on foot; and she uses the Internet to complete applications and search Web sites for jobs. She helps job seekers find work in Eugene and Springfield; and she has made an extra effort to help a Cottage Grove resident search for employment in her own home town, in an effort to avoid long and complicated bus transfers from Cottage Grove through Eugene.

Doris, who has completed 2 years of college education, enjoys hiking, gardening and spending time with her granddaughters, ages 15, 8 and 6.