Our Summer Youth participants had a unique work opportunity this year with the addition of Accurate Heating, Cooling and Plumbing as a business partner for the program. Typically, business partners for Summer Youth fall within the service industry – retail stores and restaurants.
“We were surprised when Accurate offered to be a partner for Summer Youth because they generally aren’t a business we would think to ask or one we thought would offer,” said Missions Coordinator Cana Horner. “It’s an exciting partnership because it helps us show the rest of the community people with disabilities can do more than just retail or custodial work.”
Our Summer Youth program aims to provide those aged 14 to 21 with their initial paid work experiences under the guidance of a job coach.
The five-week program provides them with skills and experience to put on applications when they’re ready to secure permanent employment. Participants often learn how to make sales, stock shelves, bus tables, mop floors, and wash dishes which can become very important skills which not only helps them secure employment later in life but are also skills they can use in their daily lives.
Accurate’s desire to partner with us for Summer Youth was born from their values of pursuing different ways of giving back to the community.
“Accurate has always been a company that has focused on the community and giving it support. Being a service to the community is just one of the ways we give back,” said Marcia Zeltman, Accurate’s customer experience supervisor.
Accurate joined us for our second round of the program and was a job site for participants Adam Hedges, Levi Mendenhall, Noah Warner and Nevaeh Perkins. Accurate staff showed them around the warehouse, offices, and some of the equipment they use, but work tasks have centered in the office.
Tasks included shredding paper, data entry, and tidying the outside using a power washer and weeding the flower garden.
While Adam, Levi and Noah weren’t big fans of being in the recent heat and humidity, they all agreed it’s been a fun experience and they’ve been enjoying the work.
Accurate employee Amy Harris has enjoyed getting to know each of the participants and their personalities, like Adam’s sociability.
“Anytime there was downtime, he was interacting with the crew, clowning around and making people laugh,” Amy said.
Although Levi was more reserved, Amy has been impressed by how he “was always able to step up and get a job done efficiently.”
Amy also discovered Noah’s enthusiasm to work and drive to move past his physical limitations with each task given.
“When you taught him a new task, he got that task done, and then if any of the others had a hard time with the same or similar task, they would go to Noah asking questions, and he just naturally took on this leadership role.” Amy said
Neveah came into her own as well, displaying a unique way with processing data and an aptitude for numbers which impressed office staff.
“It’s interesting to see how Neveah would order certain tasks into smaller parts when processing information. Her way with numbers and figuring things out was different than most people in the office.” Amy said.
Noah mentioned how much he was enjoying the program and howv he would like to come work for Accurate if they would have him. Getting a job offer isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Cana said
Accurate staff has indicated they are considering extending a job offer at the completion of the program in mid-August.
“While getting our participants job offers at the conclusion of Summer Youth isn’t the target of the program, it certainly feels great when it does happen,” Cana said. “It speaks to not just the work ethic and growth the participant displays during the program, but also the openness and commitment of the business to be an inclusive employer.”