5kits zhao

Calendar

January 2011
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Pages

Archives

Blogroll






 Employment

Job Place helps find work for differently abled

By Cierra Putman
The Baytown Sun Published September 26, 2009 Music plays quietly as a 21-year-old Jacob Peterson diligently completes his job shredding paper for a Highlands company. But, unlike other young men his age, he doesn’t flirt with his female coworkers or crack jokes; He just comes in and does his job.

Jacob has Autism, but despite the obstacles associated with his disability, he is still considered one of the hardest workers at Glove Guard. With the help of The Job Place, the Dee Ellis Foundation’s program dedicated to helping the disabled in Baytown find work, Jacob and his employer both work in harmony.

“Shredding paper is not a job you or I might be real interested in,” Shelia Vermillion, owner of Glove Guard said, “ but Jacob, when he hits the door at our office, we all know to get out of the hallway, because he’s eager to come to work.

“When he walks on the premises, his mentality is at work,” she said. “For an employer that’s a dream.”

For two hours, three times a week, the young man comes to work to shred sometimes case sensitive documents that any other employee may be tempted to read or look over.

“With some of it, there’s privacy issues,” Vermillion said. “So it worked out perfectly, because Jacob doesn’t care what the information is. He just does the job.”

Jacob’s attention to detail and quiet demeanor make him an exemplary employee but Vermillion knows that a lot of employers would never realize what a good worker he is because of preconceived notions about the disabled.

Some employers are afraid to hire a disabled employee; because they think the disabled cannot learn or be trained to work.

“Because of misconception, discrimination and lack of education, employers are missing the boat,” Program Director for The Job Place Charles Kelly said. “It is a proven fact that in studies done by the state of Texas, federal government and Department of Labor, disabled people make better employees than non-disabled people.”

That’s where The Job Place comes in. The organization helps match its disabled clients – anyone with a disability except the blind or completely deaf – with a company and a position. After making the match, it then goes in and helps its clients transition into the workforce and teaches employers and managers about the new employees disability and how they learn.

On top of acquiring an employee who wants to and can work, many businesses also receive tax write offs for hiring a disabled employee.

“A lot of people think that when they give handicap people a job they’re just doing it as a public service and that’s not true,” Anna Donato, President and CEO of The Job Place said. “We never place someone in a job that they can’t do as well as anybody else, but sometimes they can do it better.”

The group also helps find employment for anyone who is part of, or eligible for, the Ticket to Work program. The program allows Social Security disability beneficiaries work without losing their medical coverage.

Even though Jacob was not matched with Glove Guard through The Job Place – Vermillion talked to Jacob’s mother Judy about hiring him at church – it still helped with their transition.

“They totally equipped us so it wasn’t a big ordeal,” Vermillion said. “Had we tried it on our own, just between myself, Judy and Jacob, I’m not sure that we would have had as good of results at the beginning.

“He’s pretty self sufficient,” Judy Peterson said, “it was just nice knowing there was someone there. It was nice having them doing it instead of me, because I wanted Jacob to work with other people.”

Kelly says the group receives between 200 to 300 referrals a year and helps find jobs for 50 to 60 percent of their clients. Even with their success, a lot of local families still do not know about the program or are afraid to push their disabled relatives into the job market.

“As far as the job place,” Judy Peterson said, “I wish more people knew about it and would think that just because their child has a disability doesn’t mean they can’t do something well. If they give The Job Place an opportunity they might find something they can do.”

For more information about The Job Place or the Ticket to Work Program, visit the following Web sites http://www.dee-ellis.org/ and http://www.yourtickettowork.com/

Source:   http://baytownsun.com/story/47499



Leave a Reply

*