Job Success Stories from People with IDDs Around the US

Jobs for those with disabilities can be fulfilling and dynamic, which is shown through many success stories.

At Integrity Works, Integrity’s supported employment program in Little Rock, we understand how important it is to help adults with disabilities find actual careers that incorporate their personalities, interests, and professional goals.

If you think jobs for people with disabilities are few and far between, think again. Thanks to supported employment services in Little Rock and other communities, these 3 inspiring adults are living examples that competitive, fulfilling careers are possible for people with disabilities.

Jeremy, Magician and Cracker Barrel Employee of the Month: Indiana  

Jeremy was still in high school, dreaming of entertaining kids as a magician someday, when he joined his Indiana supported employment program. His job developer helped him find a position related to his dreams: entertaining kids and supervising them on inflatable playgrounds at parties.

Jeremy’s first major goal, however, was to stop receiving financial benefits, so he had his eye on a bigger prize.

Jeremy worked on his communication skills, including speaking clearly and making eye contact, and soon landed a dishwashing job at Cracker Barrel. In just one year at the restaurant, Jeremy has taken on new responsibilities, won the coveted Employee of the Month honor, and perhaps most importantly, achieved his first big dream: discontinuing his benefits.

Now, Jeremy is earning enough to support himself and invest in his fledgling magic career. He just purchased the licenses he needs to perform magic on the streets of Chicago.

Kendyl, Sign Language Teacher: Washington

When Kendyl began volunteering at a school in her community, she needed one-on-one support, including a designated American Sign Language interpreter.

Eventually, as Kendyl took on more responsibilities and gained more skills, the school created a unique paid position for Kendyl, and even customized an extensive ASL curriculum for students and staff. Thanks to this support, she was able to begin her career as soon as she finished her high school transition program.

For the past decade Kendyl has worked as a School Helper at her first school, but that is not all. She now teaches sign language to teachers and students at a second school, where kids get to learn firsthand about sign language and disabilities in general.

“Miss Kendyl” is following in her mom’s professional footsteps as a teacher, and is inspiring a new generation along the way.

Jessie, Lawn Care Entrepreneur: Arkansas

For our own Jessie Anderson, professional success started as a simple love for the outdoors. Jessie’s job coach at Integrity, Adam White, described how Jessie first joined him on his lawn as a helper, but quickly “fell in love” with cutting grass and wanted to do it every day.

Proving that our supported employment program is different for every individual, supervisor Sandy Leonard was able to recognize an unusual opportunity for Jessie.

Adam, Sandy, and Jessie’s high school special education teacher all collaborated on his support plan, and when his team noticed his passion, they encouraged him to try cutting lawns full-time. Today, he runs his very own lawn care business, and he’s eager to expand so that he can cut even more Little Rock lawns.

Instead of finding a temporary or part-time job for Jessie, Integrity, Inc. helped Jessie carve out a full-time career he truly loves.

At Integrity, Inc., we are thrilled to see Jessie flourish as a business owner, and we want the same sense of fulfillment for his peers throughout the state and country. Integrity Woks, our supported employment program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is designed to help participants prepare for and find competitive employment, not just sheltered jobs with limited opportunities for growth. Give us a call today at (501) 406-0442 to learn more about how Integrity enriches the lives of people throughout Arkansas.

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