State programs help those with disabilities gain and maintain employment

"Smile in every aisle."

Nebraska (KLKN)- We introduced you to the interns at the Cornhusker Hotel working with Project Search.  Now we take a look at what happens after they graduate from that program.

“Smile in every aisle,” said Jerett Ayers Hy-Vee employee.

Jerett Ayers is responsible for aisles 10 through 12 where he makes sure every product is in the right spot and facing forward nicely on the shelf.

“I went back to work to make it nice and neat,” said Ayers.

“He has a job and it’s a job that needs to be done. It’s not something where we bring Jerett in to have Jerett, we bring Jerett in to do a job and he does an amazing job,” said David Meister Assistant Manager at Hy-Vee.

After students graduate from Project Search, Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation or the Nebraska Commission for the blind and visually impaired helps individuals with developmental disabilities obtain and maintain employment.

“We support the interns while they are in Project Search to help them with the skills needed to be employed but also with that transition after high school which we assist them in finding employment,” said Blain Harvey with Nebraska VR.

With so many employers looking for dedicated employees, the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities is emphasizing how important it is to hire individuals with special needs.

“The big thing is it’s also an opportunity to educate Nebraskans about the importance of inclusion in the community and how it improves not only our workforce but also our society as a whole,” said Angie Gonzalez-Dorn DHHS Program Specialist for the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

For employers who may be hesitant,

“He’s an employee who doesn’t miss time. He’s dependable, he does a great job, he treats our customers amazingly well, they have fun with him, he has fun with them and it’s really just a nice feeling to know that he is going to do a great job for us. So if anyone has any doubts, just take some ownership in it, train and just watch what can happen,” said Meister.

“Do you like working here? I do,” said Ayers.

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