By James Harley and Lisa Danford
Having a job coach can allow people with disabilities to work in the community with assistance. A job coach or other employment specialist helps people learn their job duties and understand how to do their work.
Demetrius Scott is a kitchen steward at Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, where he’s responsible for washing dishes and other cleaning tasks. He’s been working with Laura Kamesar of Easterseals Redwood for more than a year. “I definitely appreciate Laura,” he said. “She’s given me suggestions on what I should do and how to improve.”
Kamesar, who has been a service coordinator for 20 years, said her role is supporting people at their job. “We help solve problems, but most important is to have our clients learn on their own to progress and excel at work,” she said.
Scott is a visual learner and prefers to watch how tasks should be done. He’s detail-oriented but sometimes needs help seeing the big picture. For example, he used to wait for the dishwasher to finish its cycle before completing other work.
“It’s a quick cycle, but I told him he should continue to do anything else that needs to be done without having to wait for the dishwasher,” Kamesar said. She also had him set an alarm on his phone as a reminder to check the water temperature or let a dirty pan soak before trying to scrub it clean. “He’s very responsive and has improved so much,” she said.
Anna Leah Swafford works at Meijer, where she helps put items back on the shelf. She works with a job coach from Ikron at least once a month. “It’s good having someone check in with me while I do my job,” she said. “My job coach also helps me with computer training or if I have trouble finding an item in the aisle.”
For people considering on-the-job support, Swafford says employment specialists can help with your strengths and weaknesses, as well as skills like time management or interpersonal relationships.
Scott recommends people not be afraid of asking for assistance. “What makes me feel good about it is that I’m able to do more things,” he said. “Having Laura’s support and strategies helped me succeed.”