WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – More than 20 people with intellectual disabilities are currently employed in the Wichita community, thanks to the training and support of Starkey, Inc.
Justin Worthey is one of them and he had a goal that he wanted to meet through his employment.
“I wanted to go on a trip, but I mostly wanted to go to Florida because I have family that lives in Florida,” Worthey said.
Now, that goal is a reality, all because of his part-time job at Davis-Moore in Wichita.
“I like the employees,” he said. “They’re very nice and we like to joke around a lot too.”
His supervisor, Tim Engle, says the Davis-Moore team enjoys having Worthey there.
“We all joke around with him, have a good time,” Engle said.
Worthey was hired as a parts assistant through Starkey.
For almost a year now, he’s done things like stock shelves with parts, clean the warehouse and refill cans with brake fluid.
Something that makes Starkey successful is that they pair all of their clients with job coaches.
Those job coaches work with people just like Justin on site for at least a month and remain a resource for months and years later.
“They helped me learn how to do the job pretty good because when I first started I wasn’t doing very good, but now I’m good at it,” Worthey said.
The goal at Starkey is to break down any barriers for people with disabilities in the workforce.
“It’s just like any of us,” said Jamie Opat, with Starkey. “We want to have a job, we want to be productive and work and be more independent in our lives.”
Nationwide, employment for people with disabilities remains pretty low, Opat said. They just need a foot in the door.
“They don’t take for granted a job so they are more apt to show up every day and we have people who have been employed for 10, 15, 20 years at their jobs and have good longevity and a good track record,” she said.
The opportunities benefit everyone involved.
For Worthey, it gives him a sense of purpose and something to look forward to each day.
“It just helps me be more active and stuff ‘cause when I’m at home I’m not very active sometimes,” he said.
For the Davis-Moore staff, it’s another filled position and another happy employee.
“We enjoy having them as employees that help us fill those different voids and you know, it gives us a chance to give back and be able to continue our business and provide that,” Engle said.