(Dis)abilities + Work + Beaverton = No Problem! Haley Vance ‘‘Ages Out” with her class and now works at Taco Bell

By Dirkse CC Team

The young adults pictured are part of a group who participated in a graduation or “aging out” ceremony held on June 15th, 2018 at Cedar Mills Bible Church.  Like most graduates they were excited to celebrate their achievement with friends, family and teachers.  But these students have more than a diploma to be proud of; they have their first paid job in the community.  While this might not seem like a challenge in today’s economy; for a person who experiences a disability such as Autism or Down Syndrome, both a job and a diploma are exceptional accomplishments.

Haley Vance is one of the graduates who was able to meet her job goal of working at Taco Bell before she graduated. This occurred thanks to a team of people who helped prepare, support and assist her prior to aging out of the School District support at age 21. Her Family, Teachers at The Beaverton Community Transition Program, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Eric Stone and Employment Specialist Chris Perry from Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc. were all instrumental in helping Haley find her “dream job” at her favorite restaurant.

As Cleaning Captain at the SW Hall location, Haley’s job is to keep the lobby neat and clean, ready for guests to enjoy their favorite items on the Taco Bell menu.  She obtained her Food Handler’s Card while at BCTP and after a short time with a Job Coach who helped her learn the tasks and routines, she now works independently using tools like a task list and alarm to help her manage her time and tasks.

Not only is Taco Bell Haley’s favorite food, it is also one of her favorite places to go.  Haley said, “I love all my co-workers!”  She recently celebrated a birthday and was surprised by her co-workers with a birthday party at work, complete with cake and candles!

Her manager Marwan shared “she is a sweet person, and everyone likes her; the other employees treat her with respect.” Haley has her “dream job” and Taco Bell has a dedicated, hard-working employee who is eager to develop new skills such as learning the cash register and taking on more hours to support the team and the customers.

Not only has Haley successfully graduated from her time at school, she has graduated in to the workforce and is part of an inclusive team who values her skills, abilities and contributions to their workforce.

If you would like more information on how to identify ways to become a more inclusive employer and incorporate motivated people in to your workforce, contact Cindy Bahl, Business Development Manager at 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com