Josh has Usher’s Syndrome, with resulting Retinitis Pigmentosa and hearing loss. He can only perceive light. He is a Braille reader and uses JAWS computer technology.
In the fall of 2011, he set his sights on a job at Ann Clark Ltd., the famous cookie cutter company based in Rutland. Josh approached Kevin Coleman, HR manager, and persisted in his efforts to get into the factory--working in partnership with his DBVI counselor, Melissa Hoellerich, and VABIR employment consultant, Nanci Gordon.
The team worked with the company to develop progressive employment opportunities for Josh. First was a three-day-a week, part-time work experience in summer 2012, giving the employer the chance to evaluate Josh, and DBVI the opportunity to assess and provide accommodations.
Josh made an immediate impression on the owners, who were impressed not only with Josh’s abilities, but his work ethic and personality—noting that Josh’s presence improved morale and productivity of the entire staff.
Josh had been using his cane on the job initially, but was hoping to bring his guide dog, Kasey, to work with him--especially if he were to be hired.
Josh was indeed hired part-time, five days a week, under an on-the-job training agreement. As the Clarks are dog-lovers, they decided to give Kasey a spot to the side of the factory floor—even profiling both Josh and Kasey on Ann Clark’s personal “cookie blog”.