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General Manager of Mrs E's

“They take the job seriously and do a good job,” Mr. Maranell said of his employees with developmental disabilities.

 


 

General Manager of Mrs E'sNow Mr. Riddle, who has Autism, mild Intellectual Disability and Schizophrenia, is working a 40-hour week, has health insurance through the company, a 401(k) savings plan, and profit sharing.

 


General Manager of Mrs E's

 

Tony Schwager, who teaches shop at Baldwin High School, said the long term goal of Anthony’s Beehive is financial independence for his son.

 


General Manager of Mrs E's

 

“I’m right in there with everybody else” could be said to be Colin Olenick’s life theme. “With a little bit of what I’d call ‘unorthodox help,’ I’ve been able to achieve much.”


 

 

 

 

Employment1st.org is funded by the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities (KCDD). Design by Lawson Phillips Associates. Stories by Tim Hoyt. Photography by Lawson Phillips. Publication design by Arthur McCash and Lawson Phillips.

Tammy at WorkTammy Carrell says it‘s far from what she’d call a “cookie cutter job.” But she wouldn’t have it any other way.

As an Employment Training Specialist for KETCH, a Wichita agency that provides support for people with developmental disabilities, Ms. Carrell is well known to businesses in town. She spends many a day visiting employers, most often with a client looking for employment.

“A lot of places it’s ‘Hi Tammy,‘” she said. “I get to know employers. I try to get to know their business a little bit.”

Ms. Carrell, who has been with KETCH’s employment division for six years, has a degree in marketing. But she said she could not imagine herself working in an ad agency or other office job.

“I think it would be boring,” she said. “But I still do marketing. I market people’s skills.”

Clients referred to KETCH employment services come from Kansas Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services. Because KETCH specializes in working with people with cognitive disabilities, the majority of the referrals have a developmental disability.

A major part of the employment services at KETCH is coordination among and within agencies. .

June Schneider, manager of community employment at KETCH, said when referrals are made, case managers and counselors from Vocational Rehabilitation Services, the KETCH Employment Training Specialist and a Job Coach from KETCH meet with the client and their family. At KETCH, Job Coaches help clients once they are hired to learn the skills needed at the workplace.

“We all work together as a team to support the individual,” said Ms. Schneider

A very important part of Ms. Carrell’s work is getting to know the person looking for work.

“We work one on one with people, get to know the person,“ she said. “Some agencies just shove people into a job. That is a set up for failure.

“I need to know their abilities, what skills they have,” she said. “I learn their job history, and in some cases, their criminal history. I try to learn more about what they want.

“From there, we’ll put it all together. I’ll help fill out applications and contact businesses. I’ll be their advocate.”

It is the teamwork that sometimes brings new ideas for employment. Ms. Carrell said during their regular department meetings, she tells the team what she’s been doing with various clients in trying to find employment.

“If you’re running out of ideas on somebody, you bounce it off everybody else,” she said. “What do you think of this idea for this person…have you tried that?”

KETCH will sometimes work with clients in community-based assessments. VR will assign a client to KETCH to place the client at businesses that provide temporary employment. VR will pay the wages for the client for up to 80 hours.

“This is just to see how ready they are to work, how they get along with co-workers, and that they show up on time,” she said. “Some haven’t worked in a long time.”

Ms. Carrell, who usually maintains a caseload of about 20 clients, said she has been taking on-line training, which she called helpful. She said a lot of the work is also learned through experience.

“I always want to learn more,“ she said. “But a lot of stuff you learn along the way. Each client is a different person.”