Matt has retinitis pigmentosa, a condition he shares with his mother and maternal grandmother. Although he was able to drive as a teenager, presently Matt is legally blind, with vision of 20/400.
Matt had worked successfully in a warehouse in Kentucky for seven years, but decided to move north when his family relocated to Vermont. The challenge was to find him a position suited to his interests and experience, and to make transportation as little a concern as possible.
A.W. Perkins is a company that manufactures and sells products for professional chimney sweeps and do-it-yourself homeowners. They were looking for a warehouse and assembly assistant through Creative Workforce Solutions, the collective of employment services of which the Division for the Blind & Visually Impaired is a member.
A.W. Perkins was looking for a full-time employee, but because of the quality of his work and character, the company was willing to hire Matt for 35 hours a week so he could retain needed benefits. As a bonus, the company is a 10-minute walk from Matt’s home.
Matt did a four-week work experience as a warehouse worker during July 2013, and in early August, was hired as a warehouse and assembly assistant under an On-the-Job Training agreement with DBVI.
Matt’s supervisor, Bill Matteson, says Matt not only exceeds expectations, he is an outstanding member of the team. Bill notes that while there are certain accommodations Matt needs (the use of a CCTV and handheld magnifier; another member of the team needs to put glue on rods in a very tight spot), Matt covers for other employees because he can do things they cannot.
Matt--a tall, strapping young man--is the second (and younger) member of the team named Matt, and so has become affectionately known as “Little Matt” at work.