Whitehall-Coplay Press

Saturday, August 24, 2019
Press photo by Paul CmilJesse Velarde and Kathleen Slane speak to Coplay Borough Council members during the May 7 meeting to discuss the Arc Discovery Employment Transitions program. Press photo by Paul CmilJesse Velarde and Kathleen Slane speak to Coplay Borough Council members during the May 7 meeting to discuss the Arc Discovery Employment Transitions program.

Coplay council teams up with Arc to assist disabled workers

Thursday, May 23, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Kathleen Slane and Jesse Velarde stepped to the podium at Coplay Borough Council’s workshop session May 7 to discuss the Arc Discovery Employment Transitions (ADEPT) program.

“The program is designed to transition people with disabilities like autism and Down syndrome into the work force. We train them for specific tasks based on the needs that businesses have. These are good workers, and there are restrictions on what they can do, but they come to your municipality ready to work,” Slane said.

Velarde and his twin brother, John, own the Chick-fil-A franchise in Whitehall and have employed several graduates of the program.

“We are happy with what they do and how dedicated they are,” he said.

Coplay is looking at various options. There are tasks in public works that have routine skills and tasks. Councilwoman Janet Eisenhauer has plans for assistance in the library.

“What we do is assess the tasks that you need done, and then we train for your task,” Slane said.

In their program, the process is designed as “customized employment job development” with an emphasis on identifying the skills, interests and conditions for success. The consultant works with the employer, co-workers and the employee during the “on-boarding” process. As Velarde explained, most transition quickly to self-sufficiency.

The program is designed to be sustainable; it is not a keep-busy program that is retired after a few months.

Arc is a national program with a record of successful placements. Arc of Pennsylvania has provided support service to individuals with disabilities for more than 60 years.

As outlined in their promotional materials, potential employees have unique skills to contribute. Arc’s job is to determine if there is a specific need that matches the skills.

Coplay is enthusiastic about the program’s potential and will work with ADEPT to identify areas that need assistance.