Of the 750 individuals with disabilities we serve on an annual basis, approximately 550 of those served are adults with a wide range of disabilities of varying levels of severity including physical and cognitive. Our goal is for each person served to have a meaningful day, every day, and to encourage each participant to live as independently as possible as an active, contributing member of our community. We offer seven services that adults can participate in while striving for a life of independence. Adults with disabilities searching for employment can consider applying to work at The Arc Industries, which is our thriving assembly, packaging, and distribution facility that offers employment and vocational training to more than 250 individuals with disabilities, as well as, assistance in the development of work skills to maintain community employment. If an individual is interested in working elsewhere for another local business, he or she may find Community Job Link a helpful source as it is designed to help individuals with disabilities in locating competitive employment with job coaching and follow-along service. Another program that encourages those we serve to be an active community member is our Connections For Life program, which is designed to enhance their quality of life through increased interaction and participation with social, educational, recreational, and volunteer activities. For those with more profound or multiple disabilities, our Day Services Program For Adults offers activities centered on personal interests and daily living skills. Additionally, we also offer 24-hour Residential Services for individuals.
Achieve with Mike
Mike has performed well in every position he has held with The Arc of Evansville. He began working at Arc Industries four years ago and during that time his job skills consistently improved. First, Mike completed piece rate work at Arc Industries and earned a piece rate wage. Because he finished his tasks carefully and quickly, Mike transitioned to an hourly rate job that required quality and precision. Again, Mike excelled, and today he is working at an enclave site for The Arc. Mike is thriving and says this is the position he enjoys the most because of the consistent work schedule.
Mike is well liked by his co-workers, and he enjoys their company. His shifts are long; Mike works 4 ten hour days each week, but he says the schedule gives him more spare time for his hobbies. Mike enjoys going to the movies, playing video games, and walking in the park or at the mall. When asked how his full-time job has impacted his life Mike replied, “My check is more, and I get to go out to eat more often.”
With income from his full-time position, Mike has become more independent. He moved into an apartment, which he shares with a roommate, and he reports he and his roommate haven’t had any arguments, and they get along well with one another, which isn’t surprising since Mike’s supervisor describes him as an excellent worker with a great personality.
In Mike’s current position, he is provided vocational training and supports by the staff of The Arc to assist him in developing his work skills so that he can one day obtain and maintain competitive community employment. The Arc’s Community Job Link program assists individuals with disabilities to secure community employment by providing job coaching and follow-along services. For Mike, community employment could mean increased wages and benefits, and it is the next step of progression for him. When asked if community employment interests Mike he responded, “I enjoy my job and my co-workers, but I may consider community employment in the future.”
Mike’s story communicates that increased income through employment leads to independence for individuals with disabilities to achieve their full potential.