Receiving an AT&T grant has enabled the Arc of Greater Beaumont to launch a new program for its clients, “Empowered for Employment,” much to the delight of sponsors, caregivers and staff members. This is a specially designed program to teach Arc members with intellectual and developmental disabilities how to obtain and retain employment. Organizers said that at least 90 percent of the special needs population served by the Arc is made up of low-income citizens who are traditionally underserved and who do not normally have access to technology and training needed to apply for and acquire jobs in today’s market. The new program is unique to other job training services in Southeast Texas because it is created solely for individuals who have developmental delays.
Training will be offered through weekly computer lab sessions that provide technology training and video feedback to improve performance. Each month the Arc Self Advocates meeting will include an education segment in the program that is geared toward employment retention skills, appropriate behavior in the workplace, time cognition and ethics. An opportunity will also be provided for clients to have a professional photo made to add to the cover page of a resume. Paperwork designed in an easy-to-read format will also be available. Specially trained staff and/or interns in a safe and secure environment will administer this entire program.
“We are so happy to be able to help make this program a reality in Southeast Texas,” said Chuck Kalkbrenner, regional manager for East Texas with AT&T. “I am very impressed with the work the Arc does in our area and I applaud the efforts to improve further learning in technology for their clients.”
Kalkbrenner said when he served as president of the YMBL, he was invited to attend a style show, one of the Arc’s yearly projects. “When I walked in, all I could say was, ‘Wow.’ They do such a great job with this segment of our population, and AT&T is pleased to be a part.”
For more information about this educational program, call Gary Hidalgo at the Arc office at (409) 838-9012.
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.