The Lebanon PA Workforce Development program has been growing steadily for approximately 2 years. This program focuses on finding competitive employment suited to the interests and skills of each job seeker. The Lebanon program currently supports 20 people who are in various stages of finding and keeping employment. This program is coordinated by Employment Specialist, Brittany Hilton, and Multi Program Specialist, Angela Byerley. Oversight and direction are provided by YAP’s National Coordinator of Developmental Disabilities services, Lori Burrus. The Workforce Development program is also active, or in development, in many other areas of Pennsylvania, including Crawford and Mercer County in Western PA, and Lancaster and Philadelphia PA.
Here is a recent success story as shared by Employment Specialist, Brittany Hilton:
Emily came to YAP eager to start a job in an office setting; she knew she enjoyed organizing, filing, and talking to new people. Emily practiced job skills while in High School. She worked at the school’s coffee shop where she took orders, delivered coffee, and handled money. Emily also volunteers at the local library organizing books and DVDs. These experiences helped Emily hone in on her interests and strengths. Her involvement in extracurricular activities such as Special Olympics and the Lebanon Community Theatre helped her gain confidence and build her resumé.
Brittany Hilton met with Emily to develop a resumé and talk about her interests and employment possibilities. In her role as a job coach, Brittany then researched job opportunities and contacted a new counseling center, Safe & Sound Counseling in Hershey, PA, to ask about a possible administrative assistant position. The owner and therapist, Dan Derrer, was happy to interview Emily and worked with Brittany to create a position focused on Emily’s strengths and job skills. Emily’s work at Safe & Sound consists of taking payments, organizing and sorting receipts, scheduling, taking and making phone calls, and light cleaning. Emily’s favorite part of the job is helping out with Bleu, the office’s therapy dog.
Emily is still working on speaking loudly and clearly on the phone with the help of her job coach. Emily is taking voice lessons for her involvement in the theatre; these lessons also transfer to the job where proper pronunciation and volume of her speech is needed on the phone. Emily loves every part of her job and Dan is happy to have her there to help his counseling center grow.