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2022 AHEDD Success Stories
Rachel Quigley has been working with AHEDD since November of 2021! She came to us already employed at Amazon but did not feel that it was the right fit for her. At the initial intake, both Rachel’s family and AHEDD Employment Specialist, Terry McLenagan, agreed that the best way for Rachel to succeed would be to find a different work environment. Terry took Rachel’s needs into consideration and suggested employment at Weis Markets. Rachel submitted her application and has officially been a Weis employee for almost six months now!
Rachel works in the frozen food department stocking products and has additionally been asked to help front products in other sections of the store! In the short amount of time that Rachel has been working at Weis, she has shown so much growth both professionally and personally! Terry stated, “Rachel has exceeded my expectations. I knew she would do well. From the moment I met with the family for the intake, I knew there was something remarkable about Rachel. What I did not know is just how quickly she would learn her new job and how much she would love doing it.”
Terry’s remarks stand true because recently, Weis has asked if Rachel would be available to work more hours a week due to her great performance! Rachel has also shown major improvements personally. Her family said, “Since taking advantage of the employment services offered through AHEDD, there has been more optimism, more smiles and less concern about Rachel’s future.” They said how her social skills have also blossomed as one of Rachel’s favorite parts about her job are the relationships that she has made with her co-workers and her regular customers! At the start of Rachel’s employment Terry would come to the store each time Rachel worked. It has since decreased to weekly, and now both Rachel and Terry are comfortable with Rachel working on her own! She has even set a goal to one day be a full-time employee at Weis! Next steps for Rachel are moving forward as Terry has sat with the family to complete an Individualized Work Plan (IWP). Once her case is closed with OVR, we can then enroll her in the Ticket to Work program through AHEDD! We see great things for Rachel’s future!
Building on previous success, John McFadden returned to AHEDD in August 2021 for assistance finding a new job. His first experience with employment support services was in 2006 when AHEDD helped John secure a job at a local grocery store in Pittsburgh, PA. After just a few months of job coaching, he had learned the job responsibilities and was able to work independently! He continued to work at the store for more than 15 years, but in 2021 decided he was ready for something new, so he returned to AHEDD for support. After assistance from AHEDD in completing several job applications and interviews, John found a good match in January 2022 when he was hired at TJ Maxx as a store associate!
At TJ Maxx, John is a jack of all trades when it comes to his responsibilities. He unpacks merchandise as it arrives in the warehouse. After unpacking, John prices the items and places security tags on certain merchandise over a designated price point. He will assemble furniture items as needed and is always willing to stock and organize shelves to ensure everything is in order.
Pittsburgh Area Manager, Janet O’Brien, has been working with John to help him learn the new job and continue to improve his skills. He has shown great growth through his time working at TJ Maxx. John and Janet are a terrific team as they have found unique ways for remembering certain details when it comes to pricing items and how to safely use tools for an enjoyable and productive workday.
AHEDD has had a positive experience with both John and TJ Maxx throughout our time together. TJ Maxx manager, Amy Altieri, stated “I have always had a good experience with AHEDD. (John) has gotten the support he needed when he started both from his Employment Specialist and his supervisor, Kim. We know that we can reach out to AHEDD if there are any employment support needs for him.” Amy even sees John earning more hours when the fall season comes!
John is ready to increase his hours (and paycheck), so we are excited to see what is to come for his future!
A few important qualities to have as a good employee are confidence, reliability and motivation! These are all words that our Chambersburg Area Manager, Sarah Guyer-Marshall, used to describe Leanna Krogmann. Leanna’s confidence was not always at the level that it is now, but through her job experiences, it has blossomed throughout the 5 years she has been working with AHEDD.
Leanna came to AHEDD having previous experience working in the food service industry. Her initial goal was to work in childcare so we found a job that was the best of both worlds and she started working for Chambersburg Area School District in the food service department of schools. She worked at Chambersburg High School for a few years and eventually moved to Fayetteville Elementary School. Sarah said she is wonderful at following directions and a quick learner of new tasks when properly taught. During the 2021-2022 school year, Leanna decided she wanted to work more hours! Leading up to the end of the school year, Leanna and Sarah started searching for a second job to work throughout the summer. They found a job in the Fitness Center of the YMCA that Leanna showed great interest in. Sarah assisted her in submitting her application and she got hired! At the fitness center Leanna has a variety of tasks to complete to ensure the members have a clean environment to workout in. She is always ready to assist members if any questions arise as well! After leaning her job duties, Leanna started to love the job atmosphere and wanted to work more hours there instead of returning to Fayetteville Elementary School when school started again. Sarah guided her through the steps of asking for more hours and YMCA agreed, along with a pay increase! Her growth in communication showed when asking for what she wanted. Sarah pointed out that Leanna has become much more confident in her abilities in social situations to voice any questions and concerns that she has!
Leanna has a goal to work in the pool area of the YMCA and maybe one day be an assistant swim instructor. Recently Leanna started attending CPR classes to get certified in the near future! Her supervisor, Becky, stated that Leanna’s greatest strength is her reliability and takes great pride in her work!
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