Grant Helps Train Developmental Disabled To Get Them Jobs In Community

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UPDATED: Tuesday May 13, 2014 8:01 PM

Thousands of people in our community have a developmental disability.

But that doesn't mean they can't be productive citizens like holding down a job.

Now, Franklin County Commissioners and Respite Connections are working to change lives.

Will Robinson is jack of all trades. From cleaning floors to tables to painting and more.

At the age of 16, Will had a brain tumor during his sophomore year of High School. His recovery affected his speech and his balance.

But he's not letting that stop him from working.

"It means I got a chance to be more independent," says Robinson.

Will is part of a training program through Respite Connections.

It provides job skills and coaching to those with developmental disabilities; while also encouraging businesses to hire people like Will, and pay them a competitive wage.

"I think there is a lot of fear of employers of taking that on," says Christe Snyder, Executive Director of Respite Connections. "Our goal is to help individuals get employment in the community.”

People like Will Robinson are shattering the stereotype that people with developmental disabilities can't work and live independently. The owners of Don Bosco Café say they hope to hire more people just like Will.

"He loves his job. He shows up early every day. He stays late that's what's exciting somebody who really has a passion for what they're doing," says Mark Flemming CEO The Bosco Center.

As for Will, this isn't the end for him - he says a year from now he has another goal in mind.

"Going back to school to get my Associate Degree, " he says.

Franklin County Commissioners are helping to support the effort to hire the developmentally disabled with a $3,500 grant.

The goal is to have five people employed by the end of the year.

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