Program Gives Jobs To People With Disabilities
“When I started here I was an adult, but in a lot of ways still mentally a little kid,” said Lindsay Gooch, Bearly Used employee.
It’s Tuesday afternoon and the room is filled with workers doing a variety of projects at the Hubbard County Developmental Achievement Center (DAC). Some are shredding papers, exercising or making fire starters.
“We’re able to offer a variety of different job opportunities and training to set goals and help people achieve that goal if it’s practical for them,” said Hubbard County DAC Executive Director Laura Johnson. “But many of our clients like working in the DAC it offers them to learn and grow and to be with their peers.”
Lindsay Gooch is a prime example of that. Gooch has worked at Bearly used Thrift Store since 2005 in many roles including as a cashier. Her dream job is working in retail. The program prepares Gooch to take that next step.
“You know what I can work a competitive job and be happy I just have to find the right fit,” said Gooch.
Most of the clients working for the D-A-C have developmental or pervasive mental disabilities such as autism. The program gives clients the skills they need to be the best version of themselves through work.
“I love coming to work everyday,” said Laura Kovacovich, Bearly Used employee. “I’m a very experienced worker and I love my jobs very much.”
Richard Raidt cuts out the wood to make sanding projects that in turn is sold in their partner stores. Clients do all types of projects from rugs made out of jeans to foot stools that double as puzzles. Having a job gives clients confidence and purpose.
“They have fun in their work site,” said Hubbard County DAC Work Coordinator Richard Raidt. “They just enjoy the value of a check.”
The D-A-C currently works with a 100 clients and is people centered. The time spent with the program varies it can be a few months to several years. Each client decides how they want to spend their day and that gives them control of their life.
“We’ve had other clients who come in and are able to build their skills, build their confidence and we can help them either work in a community job through us or part of an enclave,” said Johnson. Which is a group of people who go work at a job or they can actually go out into the community and work on their own.”
Most clients typically work a six hour day.