(Dis)abilities + Work + Beaverton = No Problem! Meet Jenny, Employed at Carina’s Bakery

By Dirkse CC Team16 Jenny at Corina's Bakery

Blind since birth, Jenny Howell navigates from her home in Hillsboro to her short-term Work Experience as a Cashier at the newly opened Carina’s Bakery in downtown Beaverton.  One might not think of a blind person as a Cashier, however you don’t know Jenny!  After graduating from Century High School in 2004, Jenny went on to earn her BA in History at Pacific University in Forest Grove with a 3.2 GPA. Along with her love of history, she enjoys art, books and music; especially singing.

At Carina’s Bakery, Jenny loves greeting customers, taking orders using a voice activated Point-of-Sale system, stocking products and even washing dishes and cleaning tables when needed!  Braille labels placed in front of the vegan baked goods help Jenny identify and fulfill the customer’s order with her cheerful demeanor and smile as sweet as the Swedish treats she proudly serves.

Jenny participates in a program through The Oregon Commission for The Blind (OCB) called Progressive Employment (PE) and was introduced to Employment Specialist, Moriah Krussow of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc. to help her reach her career goals.  The PE model is one that allows the job seeker to progress to employment through informational interviews, company tours, job shadows and short-term work experiences; all ultimately leading to permanent employment that meets the career goal.  In addition to helping the job seeker gain experience and learn new skills the PE model also provides wages through a grant at no cost to the employer with hope that at the end of the work experience, they will be a trained and valuable asset ready for direct hire!  With the help of Jenny’s Counselor, Sarah Klaja at OCB, providing accommodations such as technology, work shoes and job coaching support, Jenny is set up for a positive work experience, ready to contribute to the growth and success of the Bakery.

Carina’s Bakery is not just a vegan bakery with a Swedish twist; it is one with a social mission.  Owner, Carina Comer is also a person with blindness and knows all too well the barriers that individuals with disabilities face in the workplace.  Her goal is to create a culture of inclusiveness with focus on the abilities of a person and to show how people with a passion can do anything.  “Together we can find the spark, innovator and food lover in all of us.”

If you would like more information on how your business can provide a work experience opportunity, contact Business Development Manager, Cindy Bahl at 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com