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Jamie's Story: Finding confidence through work

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  • Written By: Allied Services Integrated Health
Jamie's Story: Finding confidence through work

Every day, Allied Services and its employees help people of all abilities live life to the fullest. This includes supporting individuals with disabilities within the workforce.

The Vocational Services Division provides individuals with disabilities opportunities for rewarding, paid employment. Career coaches and other support staff work with participants in the program to discover their strengths and interests. They match them with jobs within the community and support them through the application, interview and orientation process. Participants receive training and guidance to help them be comfortable, confident, and successful at work.

Jamie B. of Scranton is one of those successes; she has found her home away from home at Allied Services and become an asset to the Dietary Team.

Jamie has a mild intellectual disability. Intellectual disability involves problems intellectual functioning (such as learning, problem solving, and judgment) and adaptive functioning (activities of daily life such as communication and independent living). Support for individuals with an intellectual disability focuses on the individual’s strengths and needs, and the support he or she needs to function at home, in school/work and in the community.

Jamie received a skills assessment before applying for a position as a Food Service Worker at Allied Services.

“When Jamie first started, she was put on the tray line in the cafeteria to help put together food trays for patients staying at one facility,” says Jamie’s mom, Peggy. “It was pretty fast paced and Jamie couldn’t keep up. Too much was happening at once for her to handle.”

Jamie wasn’t ready to give up. Instead, she worked more closely with her job coaches.

“After working with the Vocational Services Division specialists and coaches, and more extensive work with food prep and kitchen maintenance, Jamie was able to try the tray line again at Allied Services’ Skilled Nursing Center in Scranton. It was hard at first, but she caught on much quicker this time,” Peggy notes.

Ashley Duesler, an employment coordinator in the Vocational Services Division, has worked with Jamie over the years.

“When Jamie first came here she was pretty shy” says Ashley. “On the tray line, she couldn’t alert other employees if she had missed an item. She caught on quickly though. Before long, her communication skills improved tremendously and she can alert everyone, no problem.”

“The Vocational Services Division, through job coaching and other training, helps participants find jobs either here or out in the community. I would definitely say that Jamie is one of our success stories” says Ashley.

Since graduating from high school, Jamie has been able to work more hours at Allied Services Skilled Nursing Center in Scranton, but that doesn’t mean she’s all work and no play.

“A few days a week, Jamie goes and participates in an art program. She’ll paint, make jewelry, and have a fun time. She does more than I do!” says Peggy.

“Since working with Allied, Jamie has improved so much. Her disability has gotten so much better. She used to not be able to get on the bus but now she can take it no problem. She’s become so independent and grown up a lot in the last few years.”

“For other parents who have kids with disabilities, make sure to stick by them. It’s up to us to advocate for them. Programs like the one Allied offers are so helpful. Jamie’s progress has been great. I couldn’t recommend it enough.”

Community Employment Program

This is a program for individuals with disabilities seeking competitive employment in the community. Individuals entering the program are assessed and matched with an appropriate job, taking into consideration the individual’s interests and skills. Workers receive training on the job until they are confident and can work independently. Long term support is provided to assist individuals in maintaining employment. Eligibility: Referrals may come via the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, other Social Services agencies and through self-referral. Individuals must have a cognitive, mental or physical impairment and be 18 years of age or older. For information please call 570-348-2211 or click here.

Food Service Jobs at Allied Services

Allied Services is seeking dietary aides, food service workers, and cooks to join their teams in providing quality nutrition to patients and residents. There are part-time and full-time positions offering flexible schedules and sign-on bonuses of up to $500. For more information: