HOBART │As part of a national campaign that celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities, clients from The Arc of Northwest Indiana on Wednesday received job training in various departments of Sam’s Club.
Sam’s Club welcomes and mentors The Arc of NWI clients each October for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which helps raises awareness about disability employment issues.
“It gives each of these individuals an opportunity to look inside themselves and find their skills and be able to think of applying them to an employment situation,” said The Arc of NWI Placement Support Services Director Margo Love-Surprise. “They try things they wouldn’t get to try anywhere else.”
Arc clients donned hairnets and aprons in the bakery to package cookies and some even got to tighten lug nuts on a tire in the auto shop. They performed maintenance work and learned about stocking shelves. For Doug Patterson, 26, cleaning was his favorite part.
“I’ve only ever been here to shop,” he said.
Arc Employment Specialist Beverly Hornak said it’s an opportunity for staff to see how well clients do in each department “so that we can see what would be a better match for them.”
“We ask them what department they like best,” she said. “One person thought he might like stocking but went in the bakery and said he liked that better.”
Anne Marie Huppenthal, Sam’s Club personnel training coordinator, said the training day is great for Arc clients because they get to see what’s all entailed in the building.
“Last year they loved working the café because they were able to make a pizza,” she said. “They work well. It’s really a good group here.”