Matthew participates in Interact’s Community Integrated Employment (CIE) program. This program helps people with disabilities successfully access jobs in the community. The intent is for individuals to be as independent and autonomous as possible.Part of the program includes “travel training”, where individuals are trained on using public and private resources to get to and from their job. Although Matthew had a complicated route, requiring four different buses to get to and from his job, he only needed to be travel-trained once. This is an amazing feat for anyone! Matthew has a great work ethic and goes above and beyond in performing his job. Matthew started working at Giant Supermarket in 2012. He was trained at the Willow Grove store for two months before moving to the Flourtown store. With his transfer to the store location in Flourtown came more travel training with Matthew on the new bus route, and once again, Matthew mastered the route the first time with his Job Coach. Despite having to take several buses to and from work, Matthew always arrives on time and hasn’t missed a day yet! Matthew is deaf but this has never stopped him from succeeding at what he wants to accomplish. Whether it was getting a job, traveling on four buses, or flying solo to visit his mom in Maine, Matthew has used the skills he learned through Interact to be successful in many areas of his life. In the beginning, Interact’s Job Coach visited Matthew at least three times a week on the job just to make sure that he had adjusted to his new location and work assignments. However, Matthew quickly made natural supports, which meant his Job Coach was able to fade out sooner and offer him follow-up services only as needed. His coworkers have made him part of their community. Although many of them do not use sign language, they take time to be sure that when speaking to him, he can read their lips or they hand write notes to him which he can read. In fact, his new store said what his last store did – that Matthew does great work and is always willing to do whatever is needed of him to get the job done. For example, Matthew was hired as a front end bagger, but he does more than just bagging. He’ll collect baskets around the store, gather shopping carts outside, help customers place their groceries into their cars, return perishables to their shelves from the front end, and sweep up the store when it is not busy. Matthew enjoys working at Giant and takes pride in the work he does there. He always displays a positive attitude and gives quality customer service to each person, treating them each the same–just as he asks others to treat him.
Matthew’s Story (Intellectual & Developmental Disability Services)