Ag Helps a Wrightsville Man Get His Future in Gear
Smeal wouldnt put his dreams in park. He was determined to utilize
his CDL training and attain a job as a truck driver.
the assistance of a private non-profit agency, AHEDD and the Office
of Vocational Rehabilitation in York, Duane received the opportunity
he had been waiting for with Hershey Ag. This new job called for Duane
to drive a tractor-trailer and deliver feed and animals to local farms.
Office Manager Dave Brubaker admits he was concerned that Duanes
hearing impairment and learning disability would prevent him from doing
well in his work, but no more. "Duane has proven me wrong."
Brubaker gladly concedes. "We had an opening. We said we
have to give him a chance to make it or fail. He surprised us
on just how well he does at the job."
job duties are extensive. Duane loads nine compartments in his eighteen-wheel
truck with feed. He makes deliveries to various farms in Eastern Pennsylvania,
Delaware, and Maryland. Once a week, he loads and delivers live farm
animals, as well.
long and tedious list of duties are a great deal for any employee to
master. Brubaker believes that finding anyone who would consistently
complete these tasks would be difficult. "In the job market today,
finding people that show up for work everyday and are willing to do
what they are asked to do, these types of individuals are almost non-existent.
I would say Duane has been very dependable. When I ask him to do something,
he has no problem doing it."
the beginning, Hershey Ag could sense that Duane was very determined,
so they were willing to go the extra mile in training. Therefore, in
order to accommodate Duanes hearing impairment as well as his
cognitive limitations, his dispatcher, Dave Brubaker, writes out daily
instructions for Duane to follow. "It has definitely taken extra
effort on our part. It still takes a little extra effort. I commend
him (Duane). Once he learns his job, he is good at it. He takes care
of our equipment. He is a good driver and takes pride in his work."
Ag advises other employers to consider hiring persons with disabilities
and not pre-determine what they are capable of doing.
Smeals career is now moving forward in full gear. His employer
and other supports advise continued development and training. However,
the largest mountains Duane needed to climb are now just scenery in
his rear view mirror.
employers from across the Commonwealth have had success in hiring individuals
with varying disabilities and are willing to talk with other businesses
about these experiences. If you have questions about accommodations,
sources for applicants with a disability, tax credits, local resources,
or any other issue related to the employment of persons with a disability,
contact Ms. Stacy M. Liddick of the PENNSYLVANIA BUSINESS LEADERSHIP
NETWORK (BLN) at (717) 763-0968 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pennsylvania Business Leadership Network (BLN) is a statewide, employer-driven
program designed for business leaders to promote hiring practices that
enable qualified people with disabilities to enter and succeed in the
workplace. At this time, membership to the PA BLN is free.
are encouraged to participate in the BLN because it makes good business
sense to expand the available pool of job applicants, it provides opportunities
for positive public relations and the BLN is an organized source for
information about the recruitment and training of people with a disability.