PRIDE’s Unsung Heroes

How does PRIDE Industries successfully employ over 2,700 people with disabilities? How do we train, retain and promote this workforce of people with disabilities who have struggled to maintain steady employment in the past?

It takes a team of behind-the-scenes professionals – PRIDE’s unsung heroes – to make this possible. They are the Case Managers, Job Developers and Job Coaches of PRIDE Industries.

PRIDE’s approach is focused on the unique skills and interests of each individual.

Each person with a disability is matched with a Case Manager who acts as the intermediary between the appropriate support agency, natural supports (parents/family/guardians) and employers. They help PRIDE’s employees with disabilities develop professional goals and work with them to develop work skills and standards that meets employer expectations. They also provide an evaluation of the client, personal development and job skills training, work/service plans, and emergency crisis management.

Angie Rao is a PRIDE employee with a disability who is a shining example of how gainful employment is achieved through this Supported Employment model. Angie has learning disabilities and has been successfully employed in the community for 20 years. She lives an independent life and holds a steady, full time job at Raley’s/Bel Air. While support begins with regular weekly meetings, Angie is so successful that she and her case manager, Ashley Noyer now meet only a few times a year- and that’s a good thing! When Ashley and Angie meet they revisit and assess Angie’s employment goals and ensure that she is receiving adequate support from her PRIDE job coach and Regional Center worker.

PRIDE’s Job Developers offer support and guidance in identifying employment opportunities in the community, while matching individuals with disabilities to appropriate jobs. They also monitor and work with individuals to ensure a mutually beneficial working relationship with the employer.

Carol Balko, has worked at PRIDE for 22 years – and has worked with Angie for 20 of those years as her Job Developer. Angie came to PRIDE without any prior employment experience. Carol worked with her on employment preparation skills including interview preparation and resume development, and helped Angie determine what type of job she would like and where she would be most successful. Together they visited many potential employers and work places. Angie was drawn to grocery stores because they offered her the opportunity to interact with and meet many different people. Carol found a job opening at Raley’s and, after working with the employer to make sure it was a good fit, helped Angie through the interview process. She has been happily and gainfully employed ever since!

PRIDE’s Job Coaches support people with disabilities who work in the community. They monitor and teach individuals the skills needed to succeed in their job and provide ongoing support and direction throughout their work day. PRIDE’s Job Coaches provide support to people with moderate to severe physical and behavioral disabilities at their job sites, The goal is to assist them in maintaining attendance, communication, and performing their job at the best of their ability. It is not unusual for a Job Coach to learn the individual’s job side-by-side with them. This enables them to completely understand the expectations and skills required to offer meaningful support.

Gloria McNally, has been employed at PRIDE for 21 years and has been Angie’s Job Coach for the past 13. Gloria stays in constant tough with Angie, and ensures that she is both comfortable and successful in her employment. When asked about her work, Gloria says, “It’s very rewarding to not only find people with disabilities good jobs, but to help them be successful and excel in their positions. It’s both inspiring and satisfying and I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else!”

Case Managers, Job Developers and Job Coaches. These are the unsung heroes that enable PRIDE employees with disabilities to be successful in the workplace.

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