Community Mall with a Heart
10/18/2017 03:53 PM
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and many employers are making a difference in very meaningful ways by helping individuals achieve their full potential through gainful employment. Top performing companies realize that hiring people with disabilities is not only the right thing to do but it’s good for business. Michelle Tuscano, Manager of the Lebanon Valley Mall, said that “As a community mall, we need to embrace everyone in our community and give everyone a chance to earn a living. “
Hiring Joe Northridge for the Housekeeping Department has proven to be a good decision for the Lebanon Valley Mall. “Joe is the most positive employee. His attitude improves the attitude of all the other employees and our patrons appreciate his enthusiasm and willingness to help,” said Anastasia Kissinger, Events Coordinator for the mall. “His presence and smile affects everyone,” she added.
Even from a business perspective, Tuscano said, “Joe is a very valuable member to our team. He is reliable.” Because of this, she knows specifically what his capabilities are and that he will complete his assignments. In addition, his adaptable work schedule allows her to have more flexibility in managing her budget, employees and objectives. “He is very dependable and from a management perspective that is a huge benefit,” she said.
Joe is enrolled in the job coaching program administered by Developmental & Disability Services of Lebanon Valley. Bob Barry, his job coach, noticed Joe’s confidence blossom over the years and all agree that Joe is a lot more outgoing and interacts more with the customers. He now uses a walkie-talkie and the radio system to communicate with his co-workers and to assist customers. When hired five years ago, Joe worked two days a week and was responsible for cleaning the glass doors and tables. Now he is working four days a week and he changes the recyclables, vacuums the entrance ways and assists with trash collection, in addition to his regular housekeeping duties. Tuscano said that she likes that there is a job coach to help provide support as needed.
Being gainfully employed has greatly enhanced Joe’s quality of life. He proudly wears his uniform and begins each shift with a smile. To Joe, work is more than a job or a means to earn a living-it gives him a sense of purpose. “I get to see a lot of people at the mall and I feel like I am a part of things,” Joe said.