Check Out These National Disability Employment Month Job Stories
KenCrest helps find jobs for people with disabilities by pairing them with local businesses through our employment program.
Roy is employed at Ollie’s in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. A large retail store, Roy likes the wide range of merchandise and works hard to keep the store in clean, welcoming condition. Roy’s workplace responsibilities are primarily custodial, including keeping floors free of debris, spills, and other messes, as well as sanitizing the bathrooms.
Roy likes to work as much as he is able and one of his favorite parts of employment is that he’s able to get out of the house and interact with peers.
“We would like to see Roy working behind the cash register too,” says Rick, Roy’s job coach who has been part of the KenCrest Family for 1.5 years. “Possibly, we also hope for him to transition to a full-time employee.”
Before Roy worked with Rick, he was supported by employment consultants, Tyler and Debbie. “Roy is kind, friendly, generous, and has a great heart,” says Ricks. “He constantly asks how Tyler and Debbie are doing and truly cares about the people around him.”
We are excited to watch Roy continue to amaze in his job and see where his kindness takes him!
Wendy Pollock began her career journey with KenCrest in 1985 as an Office Manager in the Pottstown, PA day program. Since that time, Wendy has also been an Administrative Assistant in the Community Based Programs. She’s now the Community Partner Work Incentives Counselor in KenCrest’s Employment department.
“I’ve always been drawn to employment,” said Wendy. “Employment makes a person feel productive and valued. It helps expand a person’s social network and gives them a sense of community.”
When Wendy found out that the Employment department was creating a new position for a Benefits Counselor, she was excited. She felt there was a huge need for this work and wanted to help debunk the myths around Social Security benefits and employment.
“These myths scare people away from working to their full potential,” said Wendy. “My job allows me to help people understand their Social Security benefits and the impact work will have on them. I get to give people good news…people who work will always make more money and maintain their benefits long term…possibly forever.”
On a typical day, Wendy works with beneficiaries, helping them to navigate their Social Security. She gives them advice for continuing health coverage, maximizing revenue, and employment. Wendy spends the majority of her day counseling, training, and talking to people with questions on the phone. She needs to stay on top of the ever-changing regulations around Social Security benefits.
“The best part of my job is meeting and helping people,” remarked Wendy. “Supporting people to achieve their goals is very fulfilling.”
Robert is a unique employee who enjoys having a to-do list and accomplishing tasks one by one. He currently balances two jobs, one at Giant and the other at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. The busy lifestyle isn’t a bother to Robert, instead he enjoys having something to do.
A housekeeper at both establishments, Robert maintains the cleanliness of Giant to keep the floors shiny, aisles clear, and shoppers happy. At Sullivan’s, Robert hopes his housekeeping duties help each person have a welcoming, enjoyable experience.
What does Robert enjoy most about working? “I like how work keeps me busy,” he says. When thinking about how he hopes to progress in his role, Robert wants to continue strengthening his current cleaning talents and build more responsibilities within housekeeping.
While working at Giant and Sullivan’s Robert interacts with a wide variety of people, keeping him in touch with his local community.
If you are ever searching for a job, Robert recommends applying for a housekeeping roll like him!
We are eager to see Robert continue balancing multiple jobs and can’t wait to see him move-up in his positions. Congratulations, Robert!
With 12 years of Special Education teaching under his belt, Mark Hauck began his career at KenCrest on August 2, 2021 as a Project SEARCH Instructor. He was attracted to the position because of the opportunity to work with an older population and help them achieve their employment goals.
Project SEARCH, which began as a single-site initiative in Cincinnati, OH, is now an international program designed to help young people with developmental disabilities to secure competitive employment.
“I’m really excited to be working with our Project SEARCH interns at Phoenixville Hospital this year,” said Mark. “It’s great to know that I’m having a direct impact on the vocations of young people and helping them to find meaningful work after they leave their internships. I can’t wait to see where their experiences take them.”
In his short time at KenCrest, Mark has been working on following curriculum as outlined in Project SEARCH, which has been in place for 25 years, so that he can teach young people the interpersonal and interactive skills they need to get a good job. Mark adds twists as he sees fit so that interns can get more or less of what they need, depending on their feedback. He’s also striving to get them to be a cohesive working unit.
“I’m so excited by direct contact with the interns,” said Mark. “They are so into the program. That type of enthusiasm is awesome…I would love to bottle it because it’s easier to maintain the program when students are excited. My hope is that they get hired after they graduate the program, either at the Phoenixville Hospital or with another employer.”
Mark is also enjoying his working relationships with his colleagues. He can’t say enough good things about his transition into this position at KenCrest.
“Everyone in the Employment department has been so welcoming,” Mark marveled. “Alli and Sharon helped to get me started…they’ve been so supportive, and Tyler and I have been collaborating and sharing ideas…it’s just been a great experience. This has been the best transition into a new role that I’ve ever had.”
By next June, the interns will have completed three rotations in different roles at Phoenixville Hospital, and Mark can’t wait to see the growth that occurs over the next several months. “To witness what will take place during KenCrest’s Project SEARCH program in 2021-2022 is going to be a real pleasure,” beamed Mark.
Interested in learning more about KenCrest’s Employment program? Visit our Employment page!