Meet Our New Supported Employment Specialist

Unondus Walker, Supported Employment Specialist

Frazer Center is thrilled to have Unondus Walker joining our Adult Program team as Supported Employment Specialist. Unondus grew up in a military family and has lived in many areas of the US as well as Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic. She graduated from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina with a degree in sociology and a minor in social work. While in college, her intention was to work with children, but her career path led her to the mental health field and ultimately to the developmental disabilities sector, and she hasn’t looked back. She’s been living and working in Atlanta for 10 years, and she appreciates the caring environment that the Frazer organization provides for its staff as well as participants.

Unondus is getting to know the participants in the Adult Program so she can better match them with a job that suits their skills and desires. But that’s just one aspect of her position. There are a lot of administrative details that have to fall into place before a job-seeker can be hired. Unondus works closely with Medicaid and the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) to make sure that each job-seeker has completed the proper paperwork to acquire employment support.

Once all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, Unondus gets to work on her employer/employee match-making. She takes participants on scouting trips to places like Ponce City Market to see if there is a potential job situation that sparks interest. Of course, interest is not enough to create a perfect fit. Unondus is also on the lookout for things like: are the aisles in this store wide enough for this job-seeker’s wheelchair? Is the soundscape too loud for this person’s sensory processing? Are these things that can be adjusted to create a more accessible environment not just for employees but for customers as well?

Unondus also helps the job-seeker find innovative ways to communicate his or her skills to potential employers. A written resume doesn’t often paint a full picture, so Unondus is working on creating video resumes for those she supports. She also encourages potential employers to think creatively: can this job description be tweaked to create a win-win situation?

Drew and Unondus on the job search

Drew is one of Frazer’s Supported Employment Program participants who is actively searching for a job. He has worked previously as a barista, but he is passionate about baking. He would love to work in a bakery, but he is open to other possibilities. Unondus takes Drew around to the businesses in his own neighborhood to see if there is an already established relationship that could be nurtured into a good job situation for Drew.

Business owners are not necessarily looking to hire people with disabilities, however. In Georgia, only 20% of people with disabilities are employed, and that’s barely above the national average. But Governor Deal recently signed into law the Employment First Act which establishes employment as the “first and preferred option in the provision of publicly funded services for all working age citizens with disabilities, regardless of the level of disability.” What business owners are learning more and more is that hiring people with disabilities is not an act of charity or just good optics. With the right fit, it’s good business. And Unondus is here to help find that right fit.

If you are a business owner who is interested in expanding diversity within your company, please email Unondus at u.walker@frazercenter.org.

 

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