Reflecting the important role that different perspectives play in workforce success, this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.” Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.
The Philadelphia “Employment 1st, Employment NOW!” Steering Committee is celebrating this year’s event with a month of employment success stories. Each day you will be receiving an email containing a new story about someone who is contributing to their community through employment. We invite you to join us as we celebrate their successes!
Confucius once said “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Over the past year, Katie Moore learned that although the first step is the hardest of all, the journey is well worth it. Katie is a vivacious young woman with a great zest for life. She loves to dance and spend time with her family and friends. When Katie graduated from high school in 2006, she decided to explore employment services, and attend a day program two days per week. Katie capitalized on an employment opportunity on July 6, 2006 and began working at Chick-Fil-A three days a week. For over 8 years, Katie enjoyed passing out samples and doing light cleaning around the store. Katie loved her job and interacting with customers, but began to feel she could do more. Katie wanted to be a “working woman”, meaning that she wanted to spend her days working hard and contributing to her community. Katie has dreams of moving out of her parents’ home and knew that she would need a better paycheck to accomplish this goal. Katie took the first step she needed toward her new career and told her team she wanted to work five days a week and no longer attend the day program. Although she enjoyed socializing with her friends at the day program, Katie made the decision to look for full-time employment.
After sharing her wishes with her team, Katie and her Employment Specialist, Ethan, began defining Katie’s career aspirations and looking for employment opportunities which would match Katie’s interests and skills. The job development process moved forward with various assessments and interviews, but Katie still did not find an opportunity which was in-line with her employment goals.
One fateful day, Andrea Temple, a board member of SPIN and a great champion of Supported Employment, stopped by Ethan’s office and mentioned that her brother Mark Zinman needed an employee at his CPA office, Zinman and Company PC. Mark was interested in hiring someone who would be a personable, hard-working, and enthusiastic employee willing to learn new skills to help his office run more efficiently. Ethan knew just the right person…Katie Moore! A few days later, Katie met with Mark and the rest of the staff at Zinman and Company PC to learn more about the business. The position entailed filing documents, processing mailings for clients, and maintaining the office and kitchen areas. Katie had confidence she could successfully complete the job tasks described and loved the friendly workplace. Mark saw Katie’s potential and officially welcomed Katie to his staff on May 29, 2014. Katie is exactly the hard-working employee Mark was looking for. She quickly learned her job and increased her productivity each shift. Katie continues to be a valued member of the Zinman and Company team and looks forward to learning more tasks and supporting her coworkers through the upcoming tax season.
Katie bravely transitioned out of the day program and now works five days a week between her two jobs at Zinman and Company PC and Chick-fil-A. She wakes up every day excited for the challenges ahead and with purpose. She loves earning her own money and being the independent “working woman” she knew she could be! Katie took that critical first step on her career journey. This change helped redefine how she spends her days, increased her self-confidence, and has brought her another step closer to her goal of living independently. Katie has become a valuable asset to not only Chick-fil-A and Zinman and Company PC, but to her entire community!
– submitted by SPIN, Inc.