From Project SEARCH to Telework

Thursday - Apr. 23, 2020

women on a couch with a laptop.

Millions of people are now teleworking as offices have closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Project SEARCH graduate Shannon Michuda is one of those workers. After graduating from the program last June, she was hired to work at the Internal Revenue Service in Kansas City, Missouri, as a batching clerk. This was a fantastic opportunity with good pay and benefits. From the beginning, she thrived in her role and loved her job.

“My coworkers are fun,” said Michuda. “The job is interesting, and we get to learn new stuff every single day.”

When the pandemic started spreading in the U.S., IRS leadership began preparing many employees for telework. Michuda received telework training before the IRS campus closed at the end of March. Telework was voluntary, and while many employees declined the opportunity, Michuda jumped at the chance.

“[I volunteered because] I kinda knew it was gonna happen eventually, and because I didn’t want to be bored at home for the next six months,” said Michuda. It is not clear when the building will open back up; but since it is currently tax season, Michuda is confident she’ll be back in the office soon.

Vicki Besco is an employment specialist with JCDS and has worked with Michuda since she graduated from Project SEARCH. She wasn’t surprised when Michuda volunteered to work from home.

“Shannon is exceptional because she always volunteers for extra duties,” said Besco. “This is a voluntary, work-from-home situation, and she just said ‘yes, I will do it.’”

Prior to the building closure, Michuda had also volunteered to be part of an employee engagement team at her office that honors employees who have been doing great work.

Michuda works three days a week, eight hours a day, which was also her schedule when she was working on campus. She was able to use a cord from her brother’s Xbox to set up her computer in the living room so she can work in a separate room from her dad, who is also working from home. Other than a few issues with the Wi-Fi, it has been smooth sailing for her so far, and she is able to stay focused on the tasks at hand.

“I just do as much as I can,” she said.

IRS leadership has taken notice of Michuda’s hard work and diligence. William Oribhabor is the Operations Manager of the Compliance Services Collections Operation (CSCO), and he oversaw Michuda’s hiring for the Kansas City Campus Compliance Department.

“The management believes she is detail oriented and a quick learner,” said Oribhabor. “She has been a leader in this telework initiative. She was one of the first employees to take her computer home and take telework training. She’s been working ever since.”

She takes her job so seriously, Besco said, that she makes sure that all other activities are scheduled outside of work hours.

“When I told her about this interview, she said she could do it after work and not during work,” said Besco. “She protects the time she is supposed to be working with the IRS.”

It’s this dedication to her job that is making her a model employee and helping her build a career at the IRS.

“Her work ethic is so exceptional,” said Besco. “Nothing deters her from doing her job.”