National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is an annual awareness campaign led by the U.S. Department of Labor. Created in 1988, NDEAM is celebrated throughout the month of October to recognize people throughout our nation who are living and working with disabilities.
Sarah Verhines graduated from The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults, in January 2020 at 26 years old while working full time and expecting her first child. Even though she was top 15 in her original high school class, circumstances beyond her control prevented her from graduating.
In 2015, James Hayes was diagnosed with a vision impairment called low-vision, caused by glaucoma and other deficiencies. At the onset of this diagnosis, James was employed by Indianapolis Public Schools but left due to the disease’s progression.
As his vision continued to diminish, James learned to adapt to his new circumstance as best he could by working with other not-for-profit organizations that assisted those with vision impairments. One of those agencies referred him to the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) at Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana.
This year, Derrick Powe celebrates 10 years of employment at Goodwill, beginning as a groundskeeper and now working as a janitor for Goodwill Commercial Services.
Trelles Evans, Director of Mission Advancement for Reentry and Disability Services at Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana, discusses her role and the people served by the programs she oversees.
Corey Starks joined Goodwill Commercial Services nearly 11 years ago as a janitor, and within his first year of employment, he was promoted to backup Team Lead. Due to his success in this role, he secured a floater position that required him to learn many new job responsibilities.
When Shannon Parks joined Goodwill’s janitorial team 15 years ago, her primary responsibility was cleaning restrooms. Due to a learning disability, her reading and comprehension skills were at a third grade level, limiting her ability to advance in her employment.
(Photos taken prior to the onset of COVID-19)
Nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never had a paying job and only 16% of persons with autism ever live independently, so when twin brothers Andre and Austin Archer connected with Goodwill Disability Services in 2016 and said they were eager to do both, our team got to work.