Posted on November 16, 2023
Top businesses like Bank of America, Goodwill, YMCA, Ruby Tuesdays and Pizza Hut, along with school systems throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, are delighted with the work ethic and skills of some 100 people they have hired through Penn-Mar’s Customized Employment Program.
As an Employment 1st provider, Penn-Mar supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to connect their interests, skills, and conditions for success for competitive integrated employment using a proprietary process called “Exploration & Discovery” (E&D).
“The average new hire doesn’t receive supports to help them navigate their job,” said Jennifer Brower, Penn-Mar’s Maryland Employment Supports Manager. “Our placements are not a one-and-done transaction. We are there for the employer and employee for the life of the job and look for long-term opportunities to provide that added value to ensure that the hire is an amazing fit for everyone across the board.”
Supporting the Employment team’s efforts is Job Developer Jason Smith. He is focused on finding potential employers that may have opportunities for the job seekers going through the E&D process.
“When I call on potential employers, I find a lot of willingness on their part to do what they can, once they hear about the supports we provide and the skill sets of our job seekers.”
Recently the employment team’s help was sought out by the parents of Debbie Baylin who lives with her family in Parkton, MD. They asked Penn-Mar to assist in their daughter’s interview and hiring process to help her secure a solid employment contract with the accommodations she would need to be successful at her job.
Debbie is an IT specialist with an extraordinary educational background and experience in web design, e-commerce, and cybersecurity.
Initially she considered becoming a web designer but changed her major at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD to earn an Associate of Arts Degree in Cyber Forensics Technology. Debbie also studied at Champlain College, in Burlington, VT, graduating with a B.S. Degree in Computer Forensics/Digital Investigations.
“I have always been interested in computers,” she explained. “There was an occasion where I had to fix a computer that wasn’t working correctly due to being infected by malware. This is when I realized the importance of cybersecurity. I want to launch a career in the cybersecurity field where I can continue to learn and grow and have the ability to work with a variety of technologies and systems. The biggest reason would be that I want to be able to help to protect peoples’ livelihoods and privacy from cybercriminals.”
Having successfully completed part-time jobs involving forensic investigation, data extraction, and e-commerce website designs, Debbie is now ready to secure a full-time position.
To prepare her for job interviews, Penn-Mar’s employment team enlisted its IT department staff who were able to “talk the talk” during mock interviews and give Debbie pointers on how she could best present her background and skills. They also gave feedback to the employment team on what types of jobs Debbie would be most suited for.
Debbie is seeking either a remote or hybrid position as it would mean less of a daily commute for her. She also emphasized that it would mean having fewer distractions, a flexible work schedule, and the ability to work pretty much anywhere she wanted.
“We are a tremendous resource for the people we support and for employers seeking dedicated, skilled employees,” said Jennifer. “We work with employers to ensure that things we promise are being done and help our job candidates throughout their careers, be it for the job they were hired for or a future promotion. All we, and our job seekers require is the chance to ‘wow’ potential employers.”
Employers interested in Debbie’s qualifications or with general employment inquiries can contact Jason Smith at (443) 491-9646 or by email email@example.com