Friday, August 29, 2014

After six years, Joshua has to find new employment. Thankfully, his Job Coach is there.

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Guest Post by Allysha Sneed

I first met Joshua on October 11, 2012. It was a cool day when Joshua, his mother, and resource coordinator stepped into Catholic Charities’ Supportive Employment program’s Prince Georges County office. We had spoken on the phone before when I called to introduce myself as his new Employment Specialist (or job coach). 

Joshua with his Job Coach Allysha Sneed.
Catholic Charities’ Supportive Employment program is specifically designed to assist adults in the community with a Developmental Disability Administration documented disability secure and maintain meaningful employment. Since then, I’ve come to know Joshua for his amazing sense of humor, motivation, and determination. In his eyes, his intellectual disability and speech impediment made no difference, and I absolutely loved the confidence he showed when he spoke of his love for his family and working with his hands. 

For all of my clients, including Joshua, my job is to help each person by teaching them the skills needed to be successful in the workforce and providing on the job support.

Joshua views himself as successful. He has been a full-time employee of Melwood’s employment contract with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, where he serves as a facility grounds man for the last six years.  In fact, Joshua is our longest employed client in the history of our office! Sadly Joshua will have to leave Goddard this fall as the grounds keeping program moves to seasonal work only. While this is an unfortunate turn of events for Joshua, I am determined to help him find additional employment without missing a beat. 

Mr. Jerome Proctor, Joshua’s immediate supervisor, has always praised for Joshua’s performance and professionalism on the job. He says, “Joshua is an integral part of the team here. If it weren’t for Joshua a lot of projects would not be completed. He is very good at his job, a great employee overall, and I couldn’t ask for anyone better.” 

Over the time I have known Joshua, he has proven his diligence and dedication to his job. He volunteers to do the tedious jobs no one else on his team wants to do, makes it a priority to have near perfect attendance and almost never complains. He is constantly working with his supervisor, Mr. Proctor, to ensure he is using job related equipment correctly and his time efficiently. Joshua simply does not let his intellectual disability hinder him from working, and together we have already taken on the task of seeking out another hands-on position for him.  

Joshua says, “My favorite thing to do at work is clean up after we cut the grass. I get to use the blower and carry it on my back which helps with the cleaning, but isn’t always easy because we have to do all around Goddard.”  Joshua adds, “I will miss Goddard, especially Mr. Proctor because he is always very supportive and always pushes me to give my best.”

Joshua is very proud of the work he’s been able to accomplish. He attributes his success to his support team including his mom, staff at Goddard who trained him for his position and Catholic Charities’ PG Supportive Employment program who secured the position for him. I am honored to be able to serve Joshua as his job coach. He is one of the most confident and driven clients I have had the pleasure to work with, and it is amazing to see his success. His story is truly one of hope and inspiration that says we are not defined by our disabilities, but rather the impact we leave on the communities we serve.