Many of us might still remember the thrill of receiving our very first paycheck. For Timothy Moran that memory is still fresh. In late October, Tim was put on the payroll of Maple Press, the 118-year-old book manufacturer in York, Pa., as an on-call employee. When he was handed his first paycheck it was cause for celebration.
Tim, 46, is a highly affable and multi-talented Penn-Mar resident with intellectual disabilities, who, for the first time in his life, is experiencing gainful employment in the community. The job he landed, through Penn-Mar’s Customized Employment program and well-established partnership with Maple Press, was a big one, one that had literally been piling up for quite some time, because, as Kate Ness, Maple Press’ Employment Coordinator, said, “we just didn’t have anyone to do it.”
A key component to the success of Penn-Mar’s Customized Employment program is the mutually beneficial relationships created with diverse businesses in the community, and identifying specific labor needs those businesses may have that match the employment goals, talents and skills of a Penn-Mar job seeker.
When Penn-Mar Career Counselor Tricia Zeltwanger contacted Maple Press three years ago, through her friend Jen Shaffer, the book manufacturer’s Benefits Administrator, a partnership was formed that led to part-time job opportunities for two gentlemen Penn-Mar supports, Mark Fry and Shawn Craumer. This past fall, Tricia reached out to Jen again and learned of another job opportunity that entailed preparing heaps of large, used lithographic printing film for recycling.
Tricia wasted no time in setting up work assessment opportunities for several people she thought might be able to handle the job. Work assessments are part of the Customized Employment program’s Exploration & Discovery process that give potential job seekers a hands-on chance to see if the job itself is a good fit.
“When I took Tim up to do some practice work on the project, he aced it and needed very little support. We had our guy for the job!” Tricia said.
The staff at Maple Press immediately took a shine to Tim, who regaled them with tales of his impressive three-decade long participation in York County Special Olympics, both as a multi medal-winning skier and ice skater, and as the organization’s national anthem singer, a title and honor that has made him something of a celebrity in York County.
Over the years he’s been tapped to sing the Star Spangled Banner at York Revolution ball games, as well as various major York County community fundraising events that support Special Olympics including The Eddie Khayat and George Tarasovic Celebrity Golf Classic held every June, and the annual Robert H Griffith Holiday Basketball Classic, a tournament organized by York County attorney Charlie Calkins and Tom Strickler and sponsored by CGA Law Firm. “I also sing at York College spring games,” said Tim, who can remember popular songs he learned years ago growing up with his parents Diane and Jerry. “It feels terrific singing in front of a crowd. I’m not ever nervous about it.”
“Tim is a friendly, gregarious person, and very involved in the community,” said Tricia. “He loves to talk with people, and is always interested to learn something about them, and remember it too. He’s made a ton of friends at Maple Press. They’ve fallen in love with him there, and I can’t tell you how great and wonderfully supportive they are.”
“I like my job a lot,” said Tim “It feels good to go to work.”
Although he works independently the two days a week he’s there, Tim needs guidance to ensure he stays on task and is safe within the warehouse environment around heavy machinery and equipment. To get him started on the job, Tricia worked with Maple Press staff member Mike Johnston to develop job supports, and said Mike is a dynamo and one of the most caring and encouraging people you could ever meet.
“When Tim walks through the door for his shift he brightens everyone’s day,” said Kate Ness. “It is so pleasing to see people come in wanting and willing to work. The positive energy from Tim and the other employees Maple has employed through Penn Mar is overwhelming. They feel like they have a purpose and its feels good to know that we are giving them that opportunity.”