WILMINGTON — An eight-week program for local youth with disabilities to practice job and community skills went very well, said a job coach with the regional nonprofit Goodwill | Easter Seals Miami Valley.
A crew of five worked at the Clinton County Homeless Shelter, county fair, the J.W. Denver Williams Jr. Memorial Park, United Way of Clinton County and Main Street Wilmington, said job coach Seziezka Moore.
A lot got accomplished, she said, and the youth learned job skills and some practical life skills.
When staff from Goodwill | Easter Seals initially met with the youth and their families, some of them had concerns about the travel involved in going to a variety of locations, said Moore.
Those concerns included what would the young person do if he or she got lost. To address the matters, some situations were staged — such as how to get back to the vehicle and how to safely cross downtown streets, according to Moore.
The pilot work-readiness program went so well that a similar initiative will be held in Warren County, and the program in Clinton County will be extended, Moore said.
The youth who participated in the summer program will go back to school in August, with two months of working in the community now part of their life experience.
Kim Bramlage, marketing and retail manager with Goodwill | Easter Seals Miami Valley, said a big focus of the organization is to employ the people it serves either in it 27 stores in the region or to help them find employment somewhere else in the community.
About 50 percent of the nonprofit’s workforce has a disability of some kind, said Bramlage.
On Friday, July 31, several youth with disabilities assembled at the Wilmington Goodwill Store. They heard Clinton County Economic and Business Development Director Bret Dixon talk about work readiness and how everyone takes different paths in their work lives.
“I can tell you this. The most important thing you can do, honestly, is to show up for work,” said Dixon, adding they of course need to do the work after their arrival.
According to Dixon, the local job climate has improved considerably since 2009 when DHL closed its domestic U.S. air freight operations in Wilmington.
He anticipates the local area will be in the position someday when there will not be enough people to do the available jobs. Dixon said the area is “very close” to that now.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.