With patience and determination, Jeremie Torres found a job that is the right fit for him.

“He knew with his disability that the job search may take a little longer, but he was willing to do whatever was necessary to provide for his family,” said Stacey Jones, PROMISE JOBS Advisor, about Jeremie Torres.

Torres is now happily employed with Marsden Building Maintenance. Thanks to a partnership between Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) and Iowa Workforce Development’s (IWD) PROMISE JOBS, Torres now has the capacity to get himself to and from work with an electric bike and earn his own income. 

Fort Dodge resident Jeremie Torres worked with IWD and IVRS for four months before landing at Marsden in Fort Dodge, where he works as a custodian. He has a background in housekeeping and other areas of cleaning. Torres received his GED in Puerto Rico and attended one year of technical schooling in advanced automotive technologies. He sought a custodian role with a guaranteed 40-hour work week. He would like to eventually go back to school for automotive engineering. For now, his focus is on making an income and supporting his family.

PROMISE JOBS is a TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) Employment and Training program created for cash assistance recipients. PROMISE JOBS implements customized work-readiness programs to prepare participants for self-sufficiency through employment. Through the Family Self-Sufficiency Grant (FSSG), PROMISE JOBS provides ready-for-work individuals with a $1,000 stipend to help them get on their feet throughout their job search. Families are free to use this money for various costs until they begin to receive paychecks.

Stacey Jones met Torres and his girlfriend in February 2023 as they began their search for employment. After getting to know the couple and their specific needs, Jones helped Torres co-enroll in IVRS and PROMISE JOBS to maximize Torres’ outcome, as he struggles with anxiety and a chronic back injury. Once he applied for IVRS job counseling services in March, Jeremie met IVRS counselor, Jean Knoll.

They made quick progress as he continued his job search. After hearing of Marsden Services’ expansion efforts in Iowa, Knoll personally reached out, inquiring about potential openings for Torres. Marsden Services is a St. Paul-based facility services provider, specializing in various services such as janitorial, security, mechanical, and general facility management. Marsden Services operates at 59 office locations with 9,000+ employees nationwide.

“You have to have a squeaky-clean record to get hired there,” said Knoll on Marsden Services. “They won’t hire just anyone.”

Torres' character and work-ethic fit right in with the company's values. Representatives from Marsden Services set up a phone interview with Torres and offered him a position as a custodian at Marsden Building Maintenance, an operating company under Marsden. However, they still had one big problem: transportation.

Torres no longer had a working car, which meant that getting to and from work would be a struggle. With his girlfriend at home taking care of their baby, he needed to find something quick. Thankfully, Jones and her team provided Torres with the FSSG grant. They used this money to purchase an electric bike for Torres, who said it would be great to get some exercise as well.

PROMISE JOBS also purchased a saddle bag, lock cables, and a cargo rack for Jeremie. Knoll purchased a helmet and bike lock.

Now that Torres had a bike, he could begin his onboarding process at Marsden Building Maintenance. He officially began work on June 5.

“I was glad we were able to partner as agencies for Jeremie’s sake. We are all about working together to best help individuals provide for their families,” said Jones. “He was very enthusiastic about everything we did and he is really happy with his job.”