Arc of Monroe program helps build inclusive workforce

Mar 17, 2017
Originally published on March 17, 2017 2:45 pm

Rainey Walker had been out of work for about four years.

But that all changed when he partnered up with the Arc of Monroe’s Job Path program, which works to find jobs for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.

After completing development training and assessments, Walker decided to give being a cashier a shot.

Walker has been working at Hart’s Local Grocers in Rochester for about three months now. He said there’s a lot about his job that he likes.

"Meeting new people, cleaning up the work station, straightening the work station and keep restocking merchandise,” Walker said. “It’s allowed me to do something. Besides, it’s nice to do nice things.

"There’s nothing I don’t like,” Walker said. “Everything here, I’m just fine."

Lia Marie Snyder, an employment specialist with the Arc of Monroe, worked with Walker to find his job. She said his outgoing personality is well-suited for his job as a cashier.

"I think he just loves being out in the community,” Snyder said. “He loves getting to know new people and meeting new people, he loves his co-workers here."

Walker has been working a shift from 9 to 11 a.m., but he’s been doing so well, store administrator Macarthur Davis said they plan on moving him to a busier time, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Davis said Hart’s has worked with the Arc of Monroe in the past to fill open positions. He said they want Hart’s to be a place where people have the opportunity to grow.

"What we challenged him to do was just to make the job as comfortable for himself as he can,” Davis said of Walker. “And also not to stress as much. We tried to put him in the best situation where he can be successful."

Davis said other businesses should consider reaching out to the Arc of Monroe when looking to fill open positions.

"You get people like Rainey who are definitely dedicated, who are willing to be here and are reliable for a business,” Davis said. “And I think that’s so important, in every way, shape and form."

This story was produced by WXXI’s Inclusion Desk, focusing on disabilities and inclusion.