Joe Ginter hadn’t finished his first day on the job at the new HomeGoods store in Hunt Valley, Md., when the compliments started coming in.
That was this past April Fool’s Day as Joe, 23, noted, and five months in he’s loving his job and the people he works with, who he said, “love me too.”
Joe’s a stock clerk at HomeGoods, and according to Penn-Mar Employment Support Coordinator, Heather Laser, he learned very quickly what that entailed.
“It didn’t take Joe any time at all to learn the ropes,” said Heather. “By the end of his first day, people were coming up to him and saying what an amazing job he was doing. He was really getting it.”
As a stock clerk, Joe mainly works in the warehouse unpacking deliveries and organizing the shipments by department.
“When I go in, I usually start on the processing line,” said Joe. “I take stuff out of the boxes, look for their departments, their styles and prices, and make sure everything is ready to be shelved. Once that’s done I’ll put on tags and then others will flow it out to the floor.”
Joe’s job often includes assisting with other tasks when needed, like stocking shelves, helping with trash collection that goes to the compactor, and operating the pallet jack.
“They are very happy with Joe,” said Heather. “The managers love having him there. He’s a very happy guy, very friendly and gets along with everyone. He’s always willing to put in extra time and offers to stay longer or come in early.”
Exploration & Discovery
For the past 12 years now, Joe has lived with his Aunt Robin and Uncle Mark Arrington of Manchester, Md. “He’s been in my life since he was a baby,” said Robin, who heard about Penn-Mar and its Customized Employment program when Joe was in 12th grade at Hereford High School, where he graduated with a 3.8 GPA.
“Unfortunately because of his age, we had to wait three years to see if he would be eligible for the Penn-Mar program,” Robin said. “When he turned 21, and after we went through the application process, they were able to bring him onboard.”
Joe went through Penn-Mar’s Exploration & Discovery Program, a four-to-six week process that involves working closely with a job seeker to identify his or her skills, preferences, and natural talents to be matched with a job in the community and an employer’s needs.
“Joe’s first part-time job was at Apple Car Wash Express in York, Pa.,” said Heather. “He was there briefly before the HomeGoods position became available. We were always on the lookout for a job that would be the best fit.”
Champion Work Ethic
Putting his all into his work comes pretty naturally to Joe. His work ethic, in many ways, has been formed by his more than ten years of experience in martial arts that have required discipline, passion, confidence, goal-setting, patience, versatility, and an open mind.
Joe practices three forms of martial arts and has a first degree black belt in Haidong Gumdo, Korean sword art; a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a karate-based Korean martial art; and a first degree black belt in Taekwondo; he’ll be receiving his second degree in November.
“Martial arts has taught me discipline, how to overcome adversaries such as bullies, how to protect myself, and build my self-confidence,” said Joe.
Through tournaments and exhibitions he’s earned recognition and a good number of medals and trophies.
“He has a lot of bling,” chuckled Robin
“I’m catching up with Michael Phelps in the medals department,” Joe added.
For Robin, watching her nephew out in the working world, engaging with people in a job that he loves (which they hope might eventually become full-time) and through his passion for martial arts, has been a major point of pride.
“We are very proud of Joe,” she said. “He’s come a long way, and we just couldn’t be happier for him.”