Hershey, Pa. — With only about 16.8 percent of persons with disabilities active in the job market last year, it’s undeniable that there are obstacles out there that hinder them from finding jobs and giving back to their communities. But a school in Hershey, Pennsylvania has been doing everything they can to help the persons with disabilities population find work and function normally in the society.
According to The Vista Foundation and The Vista School COO James Bouder:
“Don’t underestimate the capabilities of your child. No matter how severe the symptoms of their autism might be, they are capable of working and enjoying the same benefits of adulthood as we do.”
One of those who have benefitted from Vista School’s efforts is a guy named Jay. According to his mother, Lisa Cade:
“If he had to go out and find a job on his own, it would have been very difficult. I couldn’t foresee it happening.”
“When you have a child with autism your dreams kind of change a little bit. And when you get to that adulthood time in their life, you just want them to be able to give back; you want them to work, to have socialization.”
Due to Jay’s autism, he is only able to speak a few words at a time— making job interviews nearly impossible for him to endure. But with Vista School’s help, Jay was able to get a job at the local Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, where he is tasked to do mostly routine paperwork.
Parents like Lisa couldn’t be more thankful for institutions like Vista School. She told:
“Gives our kid a chance.”
“Don’t look at the disabilities, look at the abilities they have because there’s so much resource in them to be able to give. Just give them a chance.”
Referring to both Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, as well as the Vista School, Cade added:
“They’ve made our dream become a reality. That’s what it’s done. He’s happy, i’m happy and he’s giving back.”
Jay’s employers are also happy to have him working for them. According to Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Spokeswoman Laura Woodburn:
“So far, it’s been a home run both for us and for Jay.”
“For us to be able to work side by side with colleagues who do have a disability, it allows us to see how we can then translate the need into some of our guests who might have a disability.”