Bethany, who had previously worked as a dishwasher, filled out application after application at various restaurants and cafes and had a few interviews, but unfortunately didn’t get any of the jobs. While she loves kitchen work, she kept her options open and tried shadowing someone in a housekeeping position. After feeling a bit defeated and confused by the job searching process, Bethany took a break. Brittany Hilton, her Lebanon, Pa. Youth Advocate Programs (YAP) Inc. job coach, helped her understand that it is sometimes hard to find the right job and the right people to work with.
Companies like AT&T and Starbucks recognize the largely untapped pool of talent that people with disabilities offer to the workplace. They have taken intentional steps to make their businesses inclusive and accessible, benefiting from the contributions of their employees with disabilities as a result.
The truth is, any business can share the same benefits; what’s more, they can receive assistance in the process. YAP’s Developmental Disabilities services help employers build workplaces that pave the way for employees with disabilities to achieve to their potential. Job Coaches work with individuals to find employment based on their strengths and interests and then offer on-site support to both the individuals and the work team once the individual is hired to promote success in the workplace.
One day when Bethany was feeling a bit more optimistic, Brittany took her out to find places that were hiring and stopped at a newly renovated restaurant her parents suggested that she investigate. Bethany and Brittany were ecstatic when upon arrival at the Ono Family Restaurant the manager said, “We are not open for food, but are you looking for a job?” Bethany interviewed and was hired on the spot!
Bethany was originally hired on as a dishwasher, but the position was not a great fit for her due to complications with her seizure disorder. However, the staff at the restaurant were invested in Bethany and immediately discussed with her and Brittany the possibility having her work in the dining area. Bethany’s supervisor said to Brittany, “We love having her here, and want to keep her working no matter what.” In this capacity, Bethany would bus tables and complete other odd tasks to help the restaurant.
Bethany fit right in with the dining staff, who welcomed Bethany, creating a supportive and fun environment while helping her learn the job, with some assistance from Brittany. Bethany loves working at the restaurant. In fact, Bethany told Brittany, “I would’ve rather stayed here and made money instead of going to the beach with my family!”
Bethany’s favorite task is rolling silverware. This includes stacking silverware together, rolling it up in a napkin and putting a paper ring around the silverware to keep it together. Bethany reports that this task is a lot of fun which her coworkers appreciate because that is their least favorite task. Brittany said Bethany has shown great improvement with her self-esteem and confidence in all areas of her life: she’s much more likely to be seen smiling since she got the job. Bethany always makes friends with her coworkers, and they are continually teaching her new tasks.
YAP is thankful that the Ono Family Restaurant has created an inclusive and welcoming environment. The combination of positive relationships and on-site support that Bethany has received at the restaurant positioned her to experience success and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in her work. And what’s more, the restaurant staff appreciate Bethany’s performance and her personality, enriching their work experience in the process.