Sarah Maranto: A Valuable Asset, Ready to Work - Penn-Mar

Sarah Maranto: A Valuable Asset, Ready to Work

Posted on January 9, 2024

When Sarah Maranto talks about her “dream job,” she sees herself working in a small tea or coffee shop, organizing and stocking products, and spending time getting to know the customers.

But that is just one of many scenarios she is considering as she works with Penn-Mar’s Westminster employment team — Nicole Swartz/ Penn-Mar’s Youth Transition Coordinator, Teresa O’Brien/Support Team Manager and Chasidy Womack/Employment Coordinator — to help her find a part-time job that offers compensation and fulfillment.

Sarah M smilingSarah, 23, lives in Finskburg, Maryland with her parents, brother, and grandmother. She is currently spending four days a week with Penn-Mar’s Community Development Services Group where she does group volunteer work at the ReStore in Westminster, helping to stage furniture and organize merchandise, at the Humane Society caring for animals, and at a Women’s Crisis Center putting together toiletry supplies.

“We take a holistic approach to job seeking,” said Nicole. “Volunteer experience can often lead to a permanent position.”

Nicole started working with Sarah in 2020 when she was transitioning from high school to adult services. At the Carroll County Public School’s Transition Connections Academy post-secondary program, Sarah was enrolled in Penn-Mar’s customized career exploration course.

“We did a lot of self-discovery in these classes, focusing on student’s interests, strengths, and previous work experience. The vocational piece is a big part of the program,” said Nicole.

Like Sarah, many of the students had dream jobs in mind and these courses helped them to learn more about what those jobs might entail and the skills that would be required.

“From the moment I met Sarah she articulated her desire to have a job that involved organization, cleaning and order,” said Nicole. “From there we explored how we could use those skills in different jobs that would also be suited to her outgoing personality, ability to work with teams and her desire to help people.”

In a virtual training session during COVID, the class looked at different job requirements, including what would be involved in the day-in-the-life of an organizer. Penn-Mar also invited potential employers to conduct virtual visits with students where they could learn more about actual job environments.

Penn-Mar’s customized employment program supports people with disabilities on-the-job, but according to Nicole, Sarah would not require intensive coaching because she is very detail-oriented and tends to jump right into the task. She can work in a group as well as independently and enjoys a mixture of the two.

“Sarah does well in a lot of different environments. She is also a great self-advocate and will let you know if things are not working out. She knows when to ask questions and is always part of the problem-solving process.”

Sarah is looking for a job that speaks to her personality. “I am organized, helpful, take directions well and like meeting new people. I consider myself a team player and am hoping I can find indoor employment that keeps me moving around on the job. I am a hard worker who will be a valuable asset to whoever hires me. I will always be on time and am excited about learning new things.”

Sarah is hoping 2024 is the year she finds her dream job.

“Sarah is ready to work,” said Nicole. “Financial independence is certainly a part of it, but she also likes to be busy and have a schedule. She is looking for a feeling of purpose, doing something she enjoys.”

To obtain Case Studies and Employer Testimonials about Penn-Mar’s Customized Employment Program, contact Jenn Hobbs at

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