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Jonathan is one of 150 individuals with disabilities benefiting from New Avenues services, like employment services. He now works competitively at Giant Eagle.

New Avenues to Independence (New Avenues) is a Cleveland, Ohio-based organization that supports people with disabilities in working toward gaining additional independence. Serving the Northeast Ohio area, it provides services and programs that help adults, youth, and children with disabilities and special needs become more connected and engaged in their community. The staff at New Avenues provide teaching and coaching services in real-life situations to assist individuals with cultivating personal relationships within their community while fostering opportunities for competitive employment.

With the help of a grant awarded by the Maximus Foundation, New Avenues was able to broaden its Inclusion Services program to provide support services to over 50 individuals, including eleven that are volunteering in the community. An additional six individuals are receiving Employment Services, and five have found competitive employment.

Here’s the story of Jonathon, one of their clients, and the success he found with the support of New Avenues:

Jonathon knew that he wanted to work but wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do. New Avenues’ manager of Employment Services, Allen Berkfield, enrolled him in Career Explorations activities to give him a better idea of the types of jobs he might be interested in pursuing. This resulted in a one-week paid community-based assessment (CBA) at the Winking Lizard, an employer where he could shadow another employee to learn about the job. The result of the assessment showed that Jonathon was ready to have a job in the community.

Allen worked with Jonathon on improving his interview skills, completing job applications, and creating his resume. Together, they developed a plan to find him a job where he could be happy and successful. The plan led to an interview with the store manager at his local Giant Eagle, who hired him on the spot as a Lot Attendant.

Jonathon works 25 hours a week at Giant Eagle, and, with the help of a Job Coach to learn his tasks, he quickly became independent at performing his job. He is happy with his job, is earning his own income, enjoys that he gets to be outdoors, and has gotten to know the customers who live in his neighborhood.

Learn more about New Avenues to Independence and their success in helping individuals with disabilities gain independence.