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Starting a great new job at Walmart on his birthday proves to be good luck for Matt Lien

Despite the cold Minnesota winter morning, Matt Lien still has a spring in his step as he begins his two-mile walk home after working an overnight shift of stocking merchandise and groceries at the Walmart Supercenter in Fridley.

Matt and the rest of the stocking team have worked hard to get the expansive store fully stocked and shelves are “faced” so that Walmart customers can find what they’re looking for.

Originally referred to Rise by the Minnesota Workforce Center in Blaine for job placement services in August 2012, Matt had jobs in retail and restaurants before being hired as a custodian at Rise’s corporate headquarters in Spring Lake Park. He was well-liked by Rise staff who appreciated his strong work ethic, positive attitude, and careful attention to detail. 

After a year and a half, Matt decided he was ready for a career change and enlisted the help of Tim Alberts, a Rise employment consultant. Together they developed a career plan for Matt and began a new job search in earnest.

Without a car of his own and not living on a bus line, Matt wanted to find something within a few-mile radius of his apartment because he would be walking to work. He is also the father of two young sons, ages 6 and 9, with whom he spends every weekend so Matt needed to find something that would accommodate his family commitment. 

Having just missed a hiring open house at Walmart by a few days, Matt politely asked the store manager for an interview and was granted one. “I was determined to get a job there so I looked them straight in the eye and answered their questions as best I could,” said Matt who was thrilled to be hired. He started work on his birthday, September 4, which he considered to be a good omen.

Tim provided Matt assistance with some pre-start things like completing paperwork, getting him appropriate work clothing, and supporting him during Walmart’s comprehensive orientation and computer module training.

Matt works Sunday through Thursday, 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. and said he caught on to his tasks quickly. Working as part of an efficient team, he considers his co-workers the best part of his job. “They have been good mentors for me and took time to help me learn my job. I know I can ask anyone for help and get support from the team or my managers. 

“Depending on who is working that night, the managers put us in the area they think we will do best; I usually work in groceries and the deli, but I’ve been all over,” Matt added. “We flag each other down if we need help with something. It’s an awesome work environment. I think I fit in perfectly and they like me. We share a lot.”

“Matt is an enthusiastic and engaged associate,” said Store Manager Barb Ball. “He catches on quickly when assigned new tasks and is an asset to our Walmart team.”

Weekends are busy with his two sons,  and together the guys enjoy being outside, watching movies, playing video games, and participating in activities at Christ Lutheran Church in Blaine with “some awesome people.” Matt graduated from Spring Lake Park High School in 2002 and also attended Century College.

“I really enjoy working with Matt because he has the ability and the drive to accomplish anything he chooses to do,” Tim added. “I am happy that things are working out so well for him at Walmart and will be happy to continue to support him as needed as he moves forward.”

This article appears in the March 2015 issue of the Rise Reporter.