Richard, 28, has been blind since birth. He worked a few different part-time jobs trying to find his niche before reluctantly accepting a position at a sheltered workshop. Always willing to help, Richard enjoyed the people he worked with and was glad to have a job.
After two years of employment at the workshop he got some wonderful news, his fiancé was pregnant with their first child. He knew earning only seven dollars a week, well below the minimum wage, he would not be able to support his growing family. Now it was more important than ever for Richard to get a job in a more integrated environment.
Working with a service coordinator at Community Integrated Service (CIS), he received support to find three different employment opportunities for him within the food industry—an area of work Richard knew he enjoyed after previously working at Red Robin.
CIS focused on finding Richard “customized employment” opportunities—meaning, they focused on what he can do well and worked to build an employment opportunity around those skills. Richard had developed superior hand-eye coordination from his work at the sheltered workshop. His job coach at CIS worked with Bahama Breeze to create a job around his strengths. Now, Richard has been with Bahama Breeze for over a year and is solely responsible for rolling the restaurant’s silverware. He typically rolls around 2,000 sets a day and earns well above the minimum wage.
When asked what his favorite part is about working at Bahama Breeze, Richard said: “my coworkers and being part of the community.” His coworkers are a huge help—bringing him everything he needs to do his job and helping him get to his work area. They rely on him to help them do their jobs effectively. Richard can now support his growing family and looks forward to moving out on his own soon.
To learn more about CIS and read their success stories, visit their website.
Do you or does your organization have a story to share about how you are working to help people with disabilities find employment in the community? Please contact Alexa Brill at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lewis Hall at email@example.com.
By Lewis Hall
Social Media Community Manager
Business Outreach Specialist