National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is recognized during October each year. NDEAM not only highlights the contributions of workers with disabilities, it also creates awareness of the benefits of an inclusive American workforce.
This year’s theme – The Right Talent, Right Now – resonates with the Employment Division at Easterseals Crossroads with our own staff and with people whom we serve.
Meet Morgan Kirk
Morgan Kirk is a retention specialist at Easterseals Crossroads. In her position within the Employment Division, she helps individuals with disabilities retain their jobs that our employment consultants have helped them obtain. Our professionals work with individuals of all ages – from young adults straight out of high school looking for a first job to older adults who have had careers, but also a change in ability necessitating a new type of employment situation.
Our consultants work with individuals with disabilities to evaluate needs, wants, skills, experience and goals. Focusing on strengths and abilities, a job seeker learns how to present himself or herself to potential employers. Consultants work with job seekers to create resumes and cover letters; assist with job exploration; evaluate openings within the community; practice interviewing techniques; work on presentation skills; and accompany job seekers to interviews when necessary.
Employment consultants and retention specialists offer encouragement, provide morale building, offer guidance and give constructive feedback to job seekers. It can be challenging to determine if a person is a good fit for a potential job opening, even though our professionals have several tools that can be used to determine achievable employment. An initial meeting or intake can often reveal much about a person’s qualifications and readiness for employment. If we see at the first meeting that a person is late, inattentive, distracted or even unprofessionally attired, this may indicate that this person has some areas on which to improve before that first interview. We work with people to advance to employment readiness.
Support does not stop after the job is obtained, which is where Morgan’s skills step in. “Easterseals Crossroads is unique in our community because we are the middlemen for many of our job seekers. We offer many resources that can help people begin and retain successful employment paths,” said Morgan.
Morgan currently works with John, an employee at Kroger where he works as a bagger. Morgan visits with John monthly at his job to assist with employment needs. She communicates with John and his managers to keep conversations open, and she helps with any other issues that relate to his employment.
“John is an awesome man; he is outgoing, funny, and bright. He always has something new and interesting to say, and he loves to interact with the customers at Kroger. John’s position at Kroger as a bagger is a perfect fit; the company celebrates his strengths as a people person and a fantastic employee,” said Morgan.
“Easterseals Crossroads is unique in that our staff members are very hands on. We will do whatever it takes to help people with disabilities in our community find employment positions that focus on their strengths and abilities. We honestly love what we do; anyone working with us can see that,” said Morgan.
For businesses seeking qualified, pre-screened job candidates, the Employment Division at Easterseals Crossroads is your employment resource.