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REM Ohio’s new program helps people with disabilities become independent

posted Nov 10, 2015, 7:42 AM by Mark Kovack
     REM Ohio’s new Community Opportunities Program offers individuals with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities a great way to transition from school or sheltered settings to community employment.
     This 12-week “centerless” program combines internship and volunteer opportunities with skills training to build job skills,discover work preferences and build a portfolio and resume.  
     The first hour of each day will be spent in a classroom-type setting learning skills that will help promote independence, problem solving, communication, customer services and overall job skills.  Each day will end with a brief debriefing and journaling period for reflection.  Sessions may occur at REM office, school,local library, community job centers, etc.  Experiences in a variety of fields will be included and tailored to the interests of the group. These experiences may include foodservice, factory work, light construction/maintenance, janitorial, lawn care and more. All experiences will occur in the community.  
Each week will end with an opportunity for teambuilding and community engagement.  Participants will work together to plan these activities throughout the week, and then end the week doing something fun in the community!  
  One of our participants, Matt Slay, who has gone through the program, was hired at the Guernsey County Board of Developmental Disabilities as a janitor.    Matt attended the vocational program where he learned transferable work skills.  He participated in the morning lessons each day and was able to work a variety of jobs and learnlife skills. With these skills and lessons, Matt was able to obtain a job.  His bright smile and positive attitude would make anyone’s day better.  Matt worked with a job coach from REM Ohio for the first month he worked at the Guernsey County Board of DD. The job coach assisted him learning his job tasks, time management and how to interact with his supervisor and co-workers.  Matt’s positive attitude and drive to do the best he can helped him work through barriers and maintain employment.  
     Another person successfully employed person is Randy Sudduth.  Randy has been working at Salt Fork as a dish tank operator for five months.  The REM-Ohio program assisted him with filling out applications, creating a resume, interviewing skills, learning job skills, time management, interpersonal skills and maintaining a positive attitude while at work.  Randy has done such a great job that he is scheduled to learn how to cook in the near future.  
     Founded in 1987, REM Ohio offers an array of services and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, job seekers facing employment challenges, and individuals with other complex needs.  REM Ohio is at 220 N.Eighth St., Cambridge.Phone (740) 432-3371
Originally Published in the Daily Jeffersonian