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An Alternative Experience


For five weeks, Berroco was lucky enough to work with John Yonda, David Meaden & Richard Earley.  None of these men had been to a yarn warehouse before, but they mastered many of the tasks required to package and ship our products to all of our retail stores.

They came to Berroco as part of an on-the-job training program.  The Alternatives Employment Academy was started earlier this year by Alternatives Unlimited – a non-profit agency that works with more than 1200 people with disabilities living in Central Massachusetts.  Students in the Academy attend six weeks of skill-building classes at Quinsigamond Community College.  They also shadow employees at local businesses to see what kinds of jobs they might enjoy.

If you watch the video above, you can see how hard these men worked, each in his own style.  John had a quiet focus that helped him overcome each new challenge, while David was laid back and preferred repetition.  As for Richard – let’s just say his enthusiasm could be heard down the halls!  I know I wasn’t the only one who looked forward to their Friday morning visits.

John, David & Richard graduated from the Academy this week.  On behalf of everyone at Berroco, I want to say thank you and wish them the best of luck!

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Watching this video game me a thrill! I am a former special education teacher and an avid knitter. Loved seeing my two worlds work together. Way to go Berroco and your “new” team!

    November 21, 2012
    • ashleypalumbo #

      Thanks, Meg! It was a great experience for everyone at Berroco!

      November 21, 2012
  2. JT #

    Thank you Berroco for participating with us in this effort to support folks in their mission to find and have “Real Jobs”. Your openness and enthusiasm proved that your desire to give back to the community sets an admirable benchmark for the business community as a whole! Happy Thanksgiving to your team!

    November 21, 2012
    • ashleypalumbo #

      It’s such a great program! We were happy to be a small part of it.

      November 21, 2012
  3. Beth G. #

    Thank you so much for doing this. My son is autistic, and my hope is that he will be able to find some work in the community after he ages out of eligibility for services from our local school district.

    November 22, 2012
    • ashleypalumbo #

      I hope so, too, Beth. This kind of program is extremely valuable in any community.

      November 26, 2012
  4. Elizabeth #

    My sister-in-law has a developmental disability and is probably the most conscientious and hardest working woman at her several jobs. I think it’s great that Berroco can participate in a program like this! Thank you for sharing this with us!

    November 26, 2012
    • ashleypalumbo #

      I bet she is, Elizabeth. I was certainly impressed – though not surprised – by how hard these three men worked during their visits to our warehouse. They picked up skills fast and had great attention to detail.

      November 26, 2012
  5. amaryllis #

    I trust that the next time there is an opening at Berroco for one of these jobs, that you immediately call the agency.

    November 26, 2012
    • ashleypalumbo #

      I can’t speak for the boss, but I know it’s something he’d consider for the right position.

      November 26, 2012

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