Harry Whitman is a hardworking young man who has always dreamed of having a full-time, un-supported job. It is a dream he has been working toward since 2009 and, with the help of his support team, was able to accomplish at the start of 2012.
Liberty is a not-for-profit, member chapter of NYSARC, Inc., a statewide organization serving more than 60,000 individuals throughout New York. Liberty is the largest provider of services to people with developmental disabilities in Montgomery County, offering day, residential, vocational, family support and health-related programs to more than 650 individuals with disabilities and other persons with special needs in the community.
Through Liberty’s employment training services, Harry worked in the soap room at Liberty Enterprises for two years, with guidance from his supported employment network. His daily tasks included bottling, packaging, assembling, labeling and palletizing 100 soap products that Liberty Enterprises produces for NYSID.
With the help of his support group and his job coach, Maria Pantschyschak, Harry was able to work toward a full-time, un-supported position, which he achieved in February 2012 at Liberty’s Industrial Center (LIC). His new role as material handler gives him a sense of independence, pride and accomplishment.
“Harry is an extremely dedicated and loyal employee,” Pantschyschak said. “He deserves this new position because he never gave up on his goals, and has come a long way from when we first began. I am very proud of his accomplishments and wish him luck in his future endeavors.”
Pantschyschak also made a point to recognize others within the support group who helped Harry achieve his ultimate goal.
Dominic Wieszchowski took Harry under his wing and trained him on all aspects of soap and condiment production. Wieszchowski also went out of his way to provide Harry with transportation as needed to ensure Harry made it to work by 7am every day.
Carlette Brownell and Sandra Bell took the time to walk Harry through the soap room’s day-to-day operations, including setup and cleanup of machinery. Harry was also cross-trained on other aspects of the department, such as policies, procedures and paperwork.
His supervisor, Jan Rorick, was extremely supportive in helping Harry reach his goal, and Bill Sikora, director of industrial operations, noticed Harry’s abilities and felt he was a worthy candidate for his new role as material handler.
Harry began his new full-time position at Liberty’s LIC building on February 13. When asked how he feels about starting his new role, Harry said, “I’m not nervous at all, just excited. I have been working for a long time to accomplish my goal and I’m ready to go.”