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Helping people is what motivates this year's Restoring Lives Award recipient

Robert Kortlucke is an employment training specialist for KANSASWORKS Lawrence Workforce Center.

Whether it was working for the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, the Lawrence Community Shelter or in his current role with KANSASWORKS Lawrence Workforce Center, Robert Kortlucke’s motivation has been the same.


“I like helping people and I like seeing them succeed,” Robert said.


Robert has spent his career doing exactly that.


In recognition of his dedication to helping others, Robert will receive the Bert Nash Center’s Restoring Lives Award. The award will be presented at the Center’s 38th annual Pioneer Celebration at 5:30 p.m. on April 29 at Venue 1235.


“I’m honored and humbled,” Robert said. “It’s really nice to be appreciated for your work.”


The Restoring Lives Award was created three years ago to recognize the collaboration with employers who go above and beyond to provide meaningful employment opportunities for those on the road to recovery. Robert was nominated by the Bert Nash Center’s SEED (Supported Employment Education Development) team.


“The SEED team currently serves seven clients who are actively working toward educational goals and Robert has been a valuable partner for us in identifying ideas and resources for those individuals,” said Sara Godinez, SEED program manager. “The SEED team has reached out to Robert for guidance and suggestions for multiple individuals. He has been an extremely valuable partner for us in the process of connecting our clients with potential training opportunities. Robert has also coordinated visits for our team with Lawrence Workforce Center staff, responded to our countless questions, and if he doesn’t have an answer, he connects us with the individual or agency who can. We feel very fortunate to have Robert and Lawrence Workforce Center as community partners.”


Robert is an employment training specialist for the Workforce Development Center. He helps people with lower incomes attend trainings for in-demand jobs.


“We can help them with resumes, job searching and mock interviews,” Robert said. “My main focus is to get them into training and the end goal is to get them employed.”


Robert worked as a case manager for the Bert Nash Center from 2014-2016, before going to the Lawrence Community Shelter for three years.


In 2018, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy every three weeks.


“I feel good, but I get fatigued, and my brain is foggy,” he said.


He is grateful for the support and understanding of his coworkers as well as his wife, Jen, who is Human Resources Manager for the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence.


“Jen is an excellent caregiver,” Robert said. “She’s always willing to do whatever needs to be done. I admire her so much.”


Despite dealing with cancer, Robert continues to stay optimistic and to focus on the good things in his life.


“I have a great circle of friends that I have had since high school who are very supportive and encouraging. Of course, my wife and son are also extremely supportive as well as our dog,” Robert said with a smile. “Having a sense of humor is important and laughing is very good medicine. It’s something serious that I am going through, but I’ve just got to meet it head on and stay as positive as I can. I am upbeat by nature, so I think that helps while dealing with this.”

Robert in 2014 when he was a case manager with the Bert Nash Center.


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