A Job for Jason
Jason is a valuable member and the newest employee of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in Renton, WA where he supports the office by organizing new member packets, filing and organizing information, and helping to keep the office tidy. It is a job Jason enjoys, and it is a job that just a few months ago seemed out of reach—that was before Northwest Center.
As someone who is non-verbal with Autism, Jason’s particular barrier to employment poses unique and daunting challenges to entering the workforce, some might say “impossible” challenges. Some, but not the team assigned to work with Jason at Northwest Center. It started with Erica, Jason’s employment consultant who spent hours getting to know Jason, learning what types of skills he had, and what type of work he would enjoy doing, and excel at. Finding out that Jason was great at organizing things, very involved in going to church and worked well in a quiet environment, lead Erica to seek out New Beginnings, where she met with administrators to discuss the opportunity of having Jason work in the church office.
“New Beginnings Christian Fellowship (NBCF) is honored to be amongst the many organizations throughout the Puget Sound Region to partner with Northwest Center Employment Services,” says Shelia D. Braxton, the Executive Assistant to the Pastor at NBCF. “Jason is timely, enthusiastic and thorough with all work assignments. We look forward to Jason coming to work because we know he is going to enter with a great big smile, lots of energy and excitement to tackle the tasks at hand,” says Braxton.
Since working at NBCF, Jason’s aunt, Diana Strong, believes Jason has a new sense of belonging, and that he feels valued in his community.
“The NBCF church members are so friendly and accepting of Jason. They come up and speak to Jason by name and they introduce themselves and tell me how they know him. Jason kindly returns a hand shake or a smile – and I know that it means a lot to him to be acknowledged,” adds Strong.
A job for Jason means being an active and contributing member in his community. A job for Jason provides meaningful work that he can be proud of. A job for Jason means a chance to prove that he can be a valuable part of the workplace. As April is National Autism Awareness month, we are reminded by stories like Jason’s and of the world of possibilities that exist when inclusion is embraced to create a most diverse workforce.
Since 1965, Northwest Center has been a leader in advancing equal opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities; Northwest Center employs more than 400 people with disabilities within its organization, and across 13 different commercial businesses. At any given time, Northwest Center is working with more than 90 adults through supported employment, school to work, job training and placement. Northwest center’s team of employment consultants are out in the community every day working with employers to create new or reimagined jobs for people of ALL abilities.