Joe’s Success Story; Supported Employment Program Creates Customized Employment and a Foundation for a Fuller Life

Joe, an individual with developmental disabilities who has never held a job, achieved success as result of a concerted effort by the staff and coordinators at Seven Hills through their Person Centered Supported Employment Program.

While Joe is no longer in the Person Centered Supported Employment Program (PCSEPP) that has helped him and others with intellectual and developmental disabilities at Seven Hills, the best news is the underlying reason for his departure. Joe is now gainfully employed in a job that was very specifically tailored to his skills, interests and needs as well as the needs of his employer. Still, that program will continue to provide important support for him, maintaining important peer-to-peer connection and guidance from the leaders who facilitated the group, offering practical and soft skills he and others need to ensure job success.

There is more good news: his success creates a position for a new person to join the comprehensive program.

The PCSEPP program at Seven Hills, in Woonsocket, RI, one of several such programs funded by the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH), creates customized employment, as it continues to overcome the obstacles Covid placed in 2020. The program planners, job developers, family and peer-to-peer support groups of this extensive and multi-faceted program had limited ability of to work closely with the participants, often relying on technology, also limited, at times.

Joe Stone now works as event staff at R1 Indoor Karting in Lincoln. His employment success is referred to as customized employment, the result of a concerted effort by the staff and coordinators at Seven Hills, who developed a rigorous program beginning with a “discovery” process of his interests and preferences – both work and social - as well as skills. Specifically, that means Joe likes to work with kids, sports, and wants to become an advocate for others. This is done in tandem with peer group meetings led by experienced counselors, to assess, teach and enhance the social, practical and soft skills needed for successful employment.

Job developer and primary contact, Val Larochelle, sought out businesses and organizations that would match Joe’s interests and their need for help. The goal is to enable Joe to explore the business, his proposed tasks, and the environment, all while gaining experience that may eventually help him land the job.

Chief Financial Officer of RI Indoor Karting, Kenneth Bowdish, hired and directs Joe on Fridays, while another staffer, doles out Joe’s responsibilities on Saturdays, totaling 5 hours a week, which is considered a reasonable shift for the beginning program participants, who have never had prior work experience. Since Joe’s job was customized by creating a new position that optimized his skills and talents and match the needs of RI Indoor Karting, Mr.Bowdish thought Joe was doing so well that he would not require on-site, long term job coaching.

Beyond landing a job using basic skills he has, developing new skills, deploying them in a type of business he likes, and working with people he likes and likes to learn from, he is also creating a more fulfilling life for himself. He is becoming part of his communities which matters to him. Pursuing his interest in advocacy, he is volunteering to mentor a 9-year-old schoolboy through the RI Mentorship Program, engaging with him during lunchtime, playing basketball, participating in activities and offering encouragement. In addition, he joined the Cross Disabilities Council group, utilizing his strong advocacy skills to help others to advocate for themselves especially in the area of anti-bullying. Joe’s passion is to rid bullying from our society.

Post-Covid, the strong sports theme re-emerged as Joe has rejoined Special Olympics, in Milford, MA, to compete in volleyball, soccer, and basketball this June, in Orlando. Clearly, paid work, social connection, recreation, and volunteerism are positive steps on his path to personal success.

Seven Hills and the Trudeau Center is one of four Person-Centered Supported Employment Performance Program projects funded by the BHDDH.

This program focuses on those who have never been employed and are identified by the DOJ Consent Decree; specifically, Joe was part of the youth exit target population while in high school.

Contact Info:
Name: Melissa Charpentier
Email: Send Email
Organization: Seven Hills Foundation

Release ID: 89058298