• Relay Resources

Pathways to Growth: Meet Jason Wilkey, our Accommodations & Compliance Supervisor

Updated: Mar 9

In our “Pathways" series, we talk with Relay employees about their professional development journey, how our culture has supported them, and how Relay can help our team members on their pathways to growth, too. 

Pictured above are Jason Wilkey, our Accommodations & Compliance Supervisor, and his best girl Nola!

Jason Wilkey began working with Relay 15 years ago, when it was Portland Habilitation Center, as a disability vocational specialist. After what he says were “at least six job titles over the years!” Jason was promoted a little over a year ago to serve as our Accommodations & Compliance Supervisor. This role includes conducting individualized eligibility evaluations (IEEs) for employees who identify as disabled, guiding them through the process to qualify for and secure accommodations, and supporting our team of managers to implement those accommodations.

Jason’s colleague Jonathan Cresson, our Director of Culture & Development, shared this about Jason’s pathway to growth:

“When I started at Relay in 2017, Jason was a true mentor to me in my first year – he inspired me and taught me so much. Over the last 5 years, I have watched Jason continue to grow into an inspiring, empathetic leader of the Accommodations & Compliance team. Jason’s hard work and care for Relay and our people is truly unmatched – he is a shining example of how to build a culture of love at Relay.”

How did your journey begin with Relay?

J: When I discovered Relay, I was working at OHSU in their Children's Day treatment center as a milieu therapist, so it was a classroom setting with children, with all different types of intellectual and emotional disabilities. I could feel that I was burning out, so I decided to look for more of an administrative type of role, less hands on, but still make a change in people's lives.

I have always been passionate about advocating for marginalized populations’ need for health, housing and employment. And without employment, health and housing is very hard to obtain. I was fortunate enough to see that PHC had an opening where I could tie in my casework skills with technical writing and still be somewhat hands on, without case managing.

How would you describe your job? What’s your day-to-day look like?

J: After being pretty much on my own for many years, I have a great team now, and we’ve been able to shift our focus from just writing 500+ Individual Eligibility Evaluations a year to providing knowledge to our managers and supervisors. We’ve been offering trainings like Mental Health First Aid and Crisis Prevention Intervention, and we present topical trainings to teams across Relay, such as disability awareness and recognizing disability within your coworkers.

Having a team means I can also spend more time supporting and guiding employees through our accommodations processes, and assisting managers and supervisors in implementing accommodations. I also help them understand that while the accommodations process can be challenging, once the time is taken, and you’ve got good accommodations, an employee can get into their groove and have success.

What do you value about the culture at Relay?

J: I feel like our people are not just employee #1, #2, #3, etc., but there is a human element to it. I see our culture of love in action in many ways, especially when I look at what our training was, compared to what types of trainings are offered now. We’re conducting “stay interviews” where people give us feedback that they feel so supported in training. There is so much compassion and care there now.

What aspect of your job makes you the happiest?

J: The increasing collaboration between my team and other teams to recognize our strengths and how we can work together for more and better results has been great. And honestly, my own personal growth over the past five years. The doors that have been opened at Relay for my own personal and professional development are leading to positive impacts on our direct labor folks.

What would you say to inspire the people reading this about professional advancement opportunities at Relay? Do you have any advice?

J: First, I want to acknowledge that we all go through our struggles. I'm still learning, and I’m still unsure of my worthiness sometimes. But I push forward because I have the support of this organization, my leadership team, and my colleagues, and they give me the extra courage to step across each line and level up as the line keeps moving forward.

An employee can always reach out to our Accommodations & Compliance team – we have our Job Club* to offer coaching and support. And we sometimes work with people on a one-on-one capacity to help them navigate certain challenging workplace scenarios. We can approach those situations with our tenets of positive intent, respecting differences, and finding solutions, and provide some guidance in the professional sphere.

You're never going to feel sure of yourself until you can look in the rearview mirror and say, “I did that.” An employee can talk with my team, and talk with their supervisor – ask for their guidance and support. Find ways to work collaboratively and identify opportunities. It’s OK to be nervous, but you can push through, because the people at Relay want you to succeed!

*Relay's Job Club assists employees in preparing for and seeking professional development opportunities outside of Relay Resources as well as among our social enterprises.

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