Working toward independence


Ron Woods

Thanks to programs offered by Fayette Progressive Industries (FPI), one resident has overcome his own obstacles to become an independent adult with a family of his own.

Through utilization of the Employment First initiative (EFI), an effort that helps developmentally disabled adults to find work, and the Bridges to Transition program, which teaches them applicable skills to join the workforce, many have found success. Whether to help them cultivate physical skills, such as mopping, folding or sorting, to social skills, such as learning to connect to customers or networking opportunities, FPI has worked for years to help raise the standard of living for disabled residents.

Ron Woods, a Washington C.H. resident, has worked the past several years to become an independent adult. After starting as a janitor at Schneider Trucking in Fayette County, his boss noticed how punctual and organized he was and pushed for him to join the maintenance side of the shop. Now, he is currently in charge of cleaning trailers and some basic maintenance on the trucks.

“I drive a yard truck around and move the trailers into the bay and wash them out,” Woods said. “I also perform maintenance on the trucks such as changing the lights, changing tires and I also put oil in them. It is thanks to the programs here at Fayette Progressive that I have my job and have been working for so long. To others who were in my position, some advice I could give you is to start by setting some goals and then find out how to achieve those goals. Life is too short, so get out there and live.”

Woods has worked for the company for about a year now and has already made great strides in his work. When he began, he had no license or much driving experience, but Schneider has worked with him and helped to teach him how to drive the trailers. Coupled with the interpersonal and cleaning skills that he learned while training with Fayette Progressive, Woods has made a strong impression on his employer.

“Ron is always on time and offers to even work overtime,” Josh Rister, shop supervisor with Schneider Trucking, said during a recent phone interview. “We always leave it open to our employees to try and move up in the company, and Ron is already on his way to that point. He is really a great guy who gets along with everyone here at the shop. He really fits in well here at Schneider and we are glad to have him.”

Since he was 18, Woods has been an independent individual. After several years, he had a son and now the 3-year-old is the pride and joy of Woods’ life. Woods said he works to provide for his son and likes to spend the money from his checks to take him out to do fun stuff together, such as enjoying a day at the park or going fishing. Woods said he hopes to become a mechanic for Schneider in the future.

“We really want employers to realize these individuals all possess skills, determination and ethics that they are looking for,” Betty Reisinger, community service specialist at Fayette Progressive, said. “All they need is a bit of guidance and some practice, and they can make the best employees at any business.”

This story is the third in a series that showcases the success stories of individuals within the county with disabilities who have faced adversity and grown through the process to become more independent adults. For more information about the programs described here and other programs, contact Fayette Progressive Industries at (740) 335-7453.

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