October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2021 (NDEAM) and this year’s theme is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.” It is a time to celebrate the people who are placed in meaningful employment opportunities by CBS’s Vocational Services and who are making a contribution not only to their workplace but to the economic recovery of our country.
Avi Samaroo, director of CBS’s Vocational Services department, works hard every month of the year helping people to research jobs, learn how to interview, enter the work force, and succeed in their new roles. By focusing on ability and personal goals, Avi and his staff support people in reaching their full potential and strive toward greater independence.
Jose: Working as Courtesy Attendant with a Smile
Jose is one such person. Jose gained important work skills in his position at Good Reasons Pack, in North Salem, NY, but this dedicated worker took two buses to get to his job. Avi helped Jose find a job within minutes of his home at Acme Supermarket in Bronxville, NY. There Jose works as a courtesy attendant. “He does a little bit of everything,” says Avi, such as collecting carts, mopping, cleaning, and even arranging a display of fall pumpkins. Jose does his work with a smile.
A job for most people means a paycheck and a purpose. What does Jose like about working? “My job keeps me busy. Acme is a nice place to work. I like working because I learn new things, and it makes me more independent and responsible,” says Jose.
Acme’s Assistant Store Manager Tasha Willoughby says of Jose, “Jose is a valued member of the Acme team. He has an excellent personality, and he is driven. I have never seen him have a bad day. He is always smiling! Jose is a blessing.”
James: Packing & Preparing Gourmet Food
If you stop by DeCicco & Sons grocery store in Armonk, NY, to buy a soup or salad for lunch, it may have been prepared and packed by James. James is another person supported by CBS’s Vocational Services. James takes a bus from his apartment to DeCicco’s to work in the food prep department. There he chops veggies and prepares a variety of gourmet salads which he then weighs and packs before they are placed on shelves.
“I like to work,” says James. “I work to earn money and pay rent. I like to buy new stuff.”
Working for Personal Fulfillment & Contributing to the Economy
For these individuals, working is a means to greater independence and personal fulfillment. By the work of their hands, they are also contributing to the economic recovery of our country.
When you go to your local store to buy fall pumpkins or even your lunch, remember the importance of employing people of all abilities. Remember the many contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplace and economy.
To learn more about vocational services at CBS, visit: https://commbasedservices.org/services/