Work Matters Program Connects Eager Job Candidates with Employers in Need
October 7, 2020 | Terry Madden, Seven Counties Services
By: Terry Madden, Supported Employment Coordinator, Seven Counties Services
The needs of businesses are drastically different than a mere six months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, some are struggling to survive and often their productivity needs go unmet. Finding talent and dedicated employees is even more challenging in an employment landscape that has been turned upside down this year, although there are passionate people eager to work.
Work Matters is a supported employment program within Seven Counties Services, our region’s Community Mental Health Center, that matches individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and severe/persistent mental illness with local employers. Our job seekers are looking for opportunities to be part of a workforce and become valuable contributors in our community. Our team begins by meeting with an employer to learn about the unique needs of their business and assist in bringing the right candidates forward to meet their productivity needs and create a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Once hired, we also assist the employee with assimilating into work culture, getting necessary job training, and task orientation to help ensure a successful transition. Businesses who hire through the Work Matters program may benefit from the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).
The positive feedback from employers and the transformation our job seekers experience in the workforce is truly remarkable. Our successful matches are broad and wide ranging. We work with job seekers who play music, work in the medical field, detail cars, and participate in community outreach.
A Story of Success
In the Summer of 2018, we began working with a young lady who had never been employed. She brought so much positive energy, pure enthusiasm, determination, and a willingness to learn. This young jobseeker had overcome many obstacles in her life, was ready for employment, and quickly began working in a restaurant.
Learning a wide variety of opening procedures, she has become a tremendous asset to the restaurant and an exemplary employee. Her coworkers and supervisors have fully embraced her as a part of the team. She often exclaims how proud she is for contributing to a positive dining experience for her customers and for simply being on time for work. She takes pride in the money she is earning and has goals to be a waitress one day. With a positive outlook on life and determination, she is a shining example of how supported employment has a positive impact on businesses and the lives of the people we serve. She is known to say once a day, “I love my job,” and it shows.
Seven Counties Services is a Community Mental Health Center with a 60-year history that offers a full range of mental and behavioral health services, substance abuse treatment, and intellectual and developmental disabilities services in a seven-county region in Kentucky. Counties served include Jefferson, Oldham, Bullitt, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble, and Henry. For more information, visit sevencounties.org.
If you’re an employer who is interested in learning more about the Work Matters program, please contact Terry Madden of Seven Counties Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.