Some paths are straight. Some paths are long and winding. Some paths seem to have a natural flow. I think my career path is the latter. My post college career began at Marion County Department of Public Welfare (MCDPW). I was sworn in as a Caseworker V at MCDPW. Yes, I took an oath. I was employed by the State of Indiana. (Note: County Welfare workers became State employees after a ‘sick out’ protest in the late 1970’s.)
I skipped the Food Stamp office (a common entry to MDCPW) and went directly to the second floor of 141 S. Meridian St. in Indianapolis. I was assigned to be an ‘ongoing’ Caseworker. This meant every six (6) months I conducted home visits with the members of my 160+ caseload. I went to the homes of my clients and conducted an interview to reaffirm their continued eligibility for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) (cash), Food Stamps and Medicaid. The days of eligibility home visits are long gone now. I had to know which form was needed and which verification required. I calculated benefits using a budget worksheet and a calculator. Casework is very different today in the IT world.
In 1989, after an interview with the State’s new MIS Director, I was one of nine workers selected for a position to support the automation of the eligibility process in Indiana. Of the nine (9) chosen team members, we had a person from Legal, one from QC, two (2) from Policy and five (5) from MCDPW. We had eligibility knowledge across all three (3) major programs: AFDC, Food Stamps, and Medicaid. The team conducted onsite visits to States with new eligibility systems. Then we wrote Requests for Proposal (RFPs) for a few new state systems, but our concentration was the Indiana Client Eligibility System (ICES) RFP. Eventually, the State reclassified our positions as Analysts.
In 1991, at the ICES Project site on the 29th floor of Market Tower in Indianapolis, I met Audrey Clough. We became good friends over tea, books, cocktails, and fun adventures. I am still in awe of how she coded ‘Authorization’. She is brilliant. And more than a little fierce. I truly admire her talents.
Time went on…I got married. (Nick Taylor will tell you he played matchmaker. He did.) Audrey had a baby, began a new business, and even attempted to move to Europe. (Ha, ha…we know how that turned out.) Then we each had a baby. And I semi-retired after 20 years with the State. Audrey and I would spend our time together at parks and the Children’s Museum over the next few years. However, in 2007, Audrey invited me to lunch. And then I joined netlogx.