Some might call Katie Aljets a workaholic, but the vivacious 23-year-old thrives on working and staying busy.
Katie works Mondays and Wednesdays as a secretarial assistant for the Redmond School District. She also works at Triumph Fitness in Redmond. In July, she will be employed by the district as a regular employee (right now she is a "sub"), which will increase her hours and responsibilities.
Her supervisor, Martha Hinman, first spotted Katie as a potential employee back when Katie was a transition student in the school district. Katie lives in the community of Sisters, but was commuting to Redmond for the school transition program. Martha got to know Katie as a student, and realized that Katie's skills would be a good fit for her office.
"I could see her organizational skills and I thought, 'I'm going to hire her someday," Martha said, laughing. "She is a perfectionist, and just what we needed."
The Redmond School District's Student Services division has four full-time administrative assistants with a large amount of work. Martha said she saw a need for a part-time position to assist the secretaries.
"My staff was struggling to get certain tasks done," Martha said. "There is a lot of copying, and making brochures and packets for teachers and parents that was taking a lot of their time away from higher level duties."
In October 2014, Martha hired Katie and the impact has been huge for the entire office.
"She walks in with a can-do attitude from the moment she walks in the door," Martha said. "Her positive attitude is infectious and makes everyone's job easier."
In addition to making copies and putting together packets, Katie is taking on additional tasks. She recently started sending emails out to teachers, and also does some basic data entry for the secretaries. She is also in charge of helping keep the mounds of paperwork manageable on the desk of Jennie Waterman, who is an administrative assistant with the district.
"I cannot tell you how great it is to have her assistance," Jennie said. "When Katie walks in the door on Monday mornings, it's all cheer and 'good morning' and lots of smiles."
Katie said she likes to keep busy, and is excited for this summer when her hours will increase. In addition, she will also get her own office when the remodel happens.
"I love working here," Katie said. "I keep things organized and I feel confident talking to people if I have questions."
Katie is also becoming more independent. In addition to moving into her own office, she is also preparing for another big move. Right now she lives with her grandparents and two brothers in Sisters, but she is planning to move into her own apartment in Redmond.
"Katie is really independent, more than she thinks she is," Martha said.
The coworkers, including Jennie and Katie, often eat lunch together, and they enjoy a friendship and camaraderie that many offices would envy.
Katie, who experiences a developmental disability, had a job coach at the beginning, but as she gets to know the job and her confidence grows, she needs coaching less.
"When I first started, I didn't really know and they had to walk me through all the steps," Katie said.
Martha added: "We give her a job now and she just gets done."
Katie said she likes office work, and knew this was a good job fit for her.
"I always wanted to work in an office," she said. "I like to meet new people and socialize and keep things organized so working in an office fits me."
Katie's personal agent is Neta Alon-Bruce with Full Access brokerage. I/DD specialist Cortney Gibson with Vocational Rehabilitation supported her job placement, and her job coach is Jenelle Eager with Good-to-Go Oregon.
View a slideshow of Katie at work. She was also featured on the local news in Bend.