Introducing Ben Gross and Customized Employment
Written by: Jeff Mortimore, RSI Community Connector
Introducing Ben Gross
Ben Gross is a real joy to know, but he is also a bit shy. So when he started expressing his dismay with his job duties, I took note. Ben had been working in a janitorial position for many years and simply was burned out and wanted more. Specifically, he wanted to be around people.
As part of the Exploration process of Customized Employment, we worked together to find the ideal conditions where Ben could thrive in his job. We found that Ben wanted to be a part of a team and a contributing member of an organization. We were also able to ascertain that Ben would work better in a routine situation and with lower demands on mobility.
Our search and networking led us to apply at TJ Maxx. As this was considered a competitive position, Ben worked with me to build a skills-based resume and he was also assisted in completing an application. Ben received an interview and was given a job offer shortly after in the production area. Knowing that Ben would need support and redirection for this position we trained his Program Supervisor to be an employment specialist for Ben. A task analysis was created that would provide a detailed step out of his job duties. The task analysis would be available for any member of Ben’s team to implement if needed.
Perhaps the most important aspect of Customized Employment is the connection with the employer, and this relationship proved to be the game-changer for Ben. The staff and management at TJ Maxx were instrumental in making Ben feel comfortable and supported, and this is what we refer to as “natural supports” something that happens when we express kindness and care. Ben had found his ideal conditions, and, yes, there was some struggle with change. However, when there is this synchronicity between employee, employer, and employment specialist, good things will happen. It’s been nearly two years that Ben has held this position, and he continues to gain new skills in his work and in his friendships.