“It’s hard to find good help.”
It’s a common theme that we hear from employers in Marion.
Don Simmons, store manager at Rural King in Marion no longer has that struggle and he credits Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) Community Service Department for this new found source of employees.
The Community Service Department of MCBDD has had a relationship with Rural King for several years. Simmons said he likes the summer work program in particular. “It is a great way to try an employee out before hiring them on as a staff member,” he said. “I have hired a few people from the summer program. One has been here for three and a half years now and does a great job,” he added.
Full-time Community Service Job Coach, Trisha Basel said the program is a “win-win” for the community. “The employer gets to try out the individuals and the individuals learn new skills, how to interact with coworkers, customers, and supervisors.
This year’s summer program contained six Marion County high school students. The students spent one week in training at MCBDD where they learned soft skills, heard from peers that have been successful in the program, and traveled to job sites to see employees in action. After training, three students spent two weeks working at King Saver and then joined the other three students who were already at Rural King. The six students are finishing up their final week of work together at Rural King.
While at the job site, two part-time job coaches from MCBDD are there to help students with all aspects of the job.
Marcia Albright, one of the part-time coaches said the program is great. “I love this program for many reasons. It gives the individuals confidence in their employability, it brings out their personalities, and it creates camaraderie and friendships.”
Summer program participant, Anthony Scroggins is a senior at Harding High School and has learned from the program. Scroggins said this is his first experience with employment and he has learned that working is harder than he anticipated. He said that his feet hurt at first from standing all day, but he has gotten used to it and is enjoying the job. He said that one of his favorite things about employment is the people. Scroggins likes earning money too and said he purchased a video game with his first paycheck. He hopes to take his family to the movies with his next check.
For employers who may be intrigued by working with DD to find hires for their business, Simmons has this to say, “It’s been great for us. There is no liability to the employer for the summer program – MCBDD covers all of that.” He said it feels good to give the individuals a chance, allows them to gain real-world experience, and employers get to try them out before hiring them. “It’s also a great way to get to those tasks that we may never get to otherwise,” Simmons adds.
Some job assignments have included things like setting up displays, condensing the lawn and garden area, watering the plants, and even inventory prep.
Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities Community Service Department has more opportunities like this available to the Marion community. To learn more, contact Kevin Foglesong, director, Community Services at (740) 375-6133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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