Frazer Center has three new staff members, thanks to our very own Supported Employment Program.
When a Frazer Adult Program participant wants to work, our Supported Employment staff helps secure or create job opportunities based on that individual’s skills and interests. “Competitive integrated employment” is the goal—that is, a job working alongside people who do not have a disability and which pays at least minimum wage.
Unondus Walker, our Supported Employment Specialist, scours the community, nurturing relationships with businesses, searching for win-win opportunities for potential employers and employees. Recently, she didn’t have to look too far to find a match for three Adult Program participants.
Anthony and Imran are the newest members of Frazer Center’s kitchen staff, and Lara has joined Frazer’s development team.
Job Coach Damien Barnes helped Anthony and Imran go through the usual hiring process. Once they were hired, Damien accompanied them on their shifts every day to make sure they were clear about what was expected of them. The goal is for each of them to have complete independence, with Damien being on site only once or twice a month.
This is Anthony’s first job, and Damien says “he has really matured a lot and has taken a liking to his new responsibility.” Both Anthony and Imran love their new position.
Kitchen Manager Velecia Wright is happy too. Before working at Frazer she never considered hiring people with disabilities. Now she says, “I love it. They teach me a lot.” She appreciates having Damien there to help train Anthony and Imran. “It might take them a little extra time to learn something, but once they get the hang of it, they go. They pay attention and make sure they get things done.”
Lara has wanted an office job for a long time. For years, whenever she saw anyone from the Frazer administrative team, she would ask if there was anything she could do to help. Development Director Tonja Holder took her up on that offer.
Lara volunteered to help Tonja with mailings, stuffing and stamping over 2000 envelopes. Tonja says, “I realized, through her volunteer efforts, how much help that is. Rather than ask her to give all of that time, I thought it was more appropriate to hire her.”
Tonja looked over the budget with CEO Paige McKay Kubik and determined that a part time position could be created for Lara. Since Lara has cerebral palsy, Unondus worked with Tonja to see if any modifications to the office environment might facilitate Lara’s work. Frazer acquired a machine that helps her fold multi-page letters. “Lara’s work is invaluable,” says Tonja. “She has cut in half the time it takes to do a mailing.”
Lara shows up gleefully to every shift. “I like working with Tonja. She’s fun, and she gives me more work.” According to Tonja, “The biggest challenge is that we don’t have enough work for her, and our budget is limited even if we did.” Lara would love to work full time, or maybe add on a second part time job.
Like any employed person, all three of Frazer’s new staff members love receiving a paycheck. Whether they use it for everyday purposes or save it for a vacation, each gets a sense of independence and confidence from being paid to do a good day’s work.
If you would like to help more people with disabilities find employment, CLICK HERE to donate to our Flourish Scholarship Fund.
To learn more about Frazer's Adult Program, CLICK HERE.