Imagine not being able to contribute to the well-being of your family. That used to be the case for Vincent, until he was connected with employment at Oregon’s Wild Harvest through the Opportunity Foundation and their supported employment program. Vincent is able to be a contributing family member, pitching in financially for rent, food and clothing because of his job doing clerical and janitorial work at the biodynamic herbal tonics company. He likes to “organize, keep uniforms in specific order of sizes,” and he especially likes “his paycheck.”
As his manager, Eli Nourse, says, “Vincent enjoys being independent in his community job. He plays a crucial role in keeping consumers safe because the sanitation practices Vincent does weekly cut down on cross contamination and help improve the quality of our products at Oregon’s Wild Harvest.” While the company may benefit from having Vincent, he also enjoys a wide variety of benefits. He enjoys buying video games with the money he earns. His social skills have improved and he communicates more often with his co-workers and is learning to be more flexible.
“By providing a safe environment for personal development and supporting constructive behavior, the rubber meets the road here, in terms of a community benefit from Vincent’s work,” says Nourse. When asked if he would recommend that other local employers consider a wider variety of candidates for their next job posting, Nourse doesn’t hesitate. “Absolutely. It’s a great thing to be successful. It’s an extraordinary accomplishment to reach back and pull others up to your level.”