(Portsmouth, NH) Bob Rose, a Career Resource Specialist on our Saco, Maine Team, was presented our Company’s special Frank Loughran Award at our year-end management meeting. Bob was nominated for the award by Megan Fernandez, the Saco Director. Bob was selected from a very strong pool of nominees for his work with clients placed at HMS Host, which operates food services on the Maine Turnpike. Here is what Megan wrote:
“Bob has made two placements at HMS Host that are the epitome of natural support. Bob placed two gentlemen at HMS host. The first gentleman has behaviors that have caused him to be dismissed from employment and the VR counselor insisted that this particular client have 1:1 support all the time. Bob thought for this man’s ability that a 1:1 job coach was ridiculous and Bob turned out to be absolutely right. Bob pushed the counselor and met with the employer to discuss the behavior. The employer was thankful that he knew about the behavior and agreed that the client did not need the 1:1 especially now that they understood his behavior and what to expect. This gentleman, Roger, has now been employed at HMS host for 18 months and has had no incidents at work. Roger works around 15 hours per week and is only supported 1.9 hours. Roger is successful because Bob set up the groundwork for natural supports. Rogers’s coworkers and supervisors understand him and support him.
“The other placement at HMS host was a gentleman that had some intellectual barriers but a really strong desire to work and learn. Bob was able to place him prepping food for Burger King. The gentleman, Tom, learned the job quickly and excelled at it. Tom began asking for more to do and the supervisors were excited he wanted to do more. Bob worked with Tom’s coworkers and supervisors so that they could teach Tom new things. Tom has now been employed for almost two years and has mastered many tasks at Burger King and now moved to a different department (maintenance) and he is excelling at this position too. Tom has been working 20 to 25 hours per week with less than 2 hours of support per week. Tom has been successful in large part to the natural supports that Bob helped implement on day one of employment.”
History of the Award
This award was established in memory of our late Vice President, Frank Loughran, to recognize excellence in Supported Employment. It is given annually to an employee who has exhibited creativity in job development strategies for individuals with disabilities and a commitment to natural supports in the workplace. Frank was a wonderful person who balanced his work as head of the finance department, with the work Work Opportunities Unlimited did with the individual clients we served. Frank cared deeply about the quality of services we provided and was a leading voice in the company to ensure individual clients were gaining vocational skills and independence. Upon Frank’s untimely death Work Opportunities Unlimited decided to honor Frank with this recognition in memory of his commitment to helping individuals improve their lives through the world of work. This award has been given annually since the early 1990’s.