Disabled Workers Integrating into Community Jobs
4/4/2013 (Updated 6:48:28 PM)(Source: Jason Weinstein)
For the past eight years Jimmy Battle has manned the sink at the Chat-A-Wyle restaurant in Apalachin.
"I do dishes and bus tables. I do everything," said Battle.
Battle and Sandy Weeks, who's worked at Chat-A-Wyle for just under a year, were placed at the restaurant by Achieve, a Binghamton non-profit which readies those with developmental disabilities for the workforce.
"I like the people I work with. I just enjoy working here," said Weeks.
"It's been the greatest experience. I wish I knew 18 years ago. They're great to work with. They'll do anything. They want to do more than even what is asked of them," said Chat-A-Wyle owner Pam Babuka.
When Achieve clients enter what's called supported employment in the community they are accompanied by a job coach to help both the employee and employer make the transition.
"It depends on the individual. Most of the time we have wonderful cooperation with the employer so the transition is generally pretty quick," said Achieve Job Placement Specialist Christine Matthews.
"When they came here they were really shy. And now they just want to do everything," said Babuka.
"When I first started here I was kind of shy. But now I am not shy. I get along with everybody. I get along with my co-workers," said Battle.
His co-workers and his boss.
"My restaurant only gives them an ability to go this far and I wish I could find something to make them go further because they can do so much more," said Babuka.
While Babuka wishes she had more to challenge Jimmy and Sandy, she is able to offer one unique benefit.
"You work in the kitchen a lot. How's the food here?"
"Pretty good. Pretty awesome," said Battle.
"The food's really good," said Weeks.
"Not only did they do so much for me but I think we've done a lot for them. We've become a big family," said Babuka,
****In Apalachin, Jason Weinstein, Fox 40 HD News****
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