Staff dedication leads to community employment

Spears pictured with Beckman Adult Center Support Specialist, Yonda Harrell
Spears pictured with Beckman Adult Center Support Specialist, Yonda Harrell

Hamilton DD Services reached a new milestone this year by successfully finding a community job for someone attending one of its adult centers.

Deb Spears, 64, was recently hired to work at the McDonald’s located on Hamilton Avenue. Spears, who attends Beckman, is the first individual from a county-operated adult center to have found work in the community.

“The story of Deb’s employment is a true testament to how dedicated our staff are to the success of the people being served,” said Nathan Beck, interim director at Beckman Adult Center. “This accomplishment was truly a team effort, and we want to highlight this employment success story to possibly encourage others.”

Beck, along with Beckman Adult Center Direct Support Specialist Yonda Harrell, and former Beckman Director Chris Miller, who now serves as the General Manger of General Assembly, all played a role in getting Spears a job.

“From what I have learned from previously being a job coach, I know how important it is to make connections with employers out in the community,” Harrell said. “Back in November I started building a relationship with the McDonald’s manager, and it was through this relationship that we were able to help get Deb a job just a few months later.”

Spears, who previously worked at Taco Bell, was hired at McDonald’s because of her fast food restaurant experience. “Deb even showed up to her interview with McDonald’s wearing her Taco bell uniform! That is how excited she is to get back to work,” Harrell said.

Two days a week, Spears helps in the kitchen by cleaning and washing dishes. She uses a communication picture book to interact with others, and expressed how she can’t wait to start working at McDonald’s.

“We are hoping Deb’s story will inspire others  to focus on integration, and the importance of building relationships with those out in the community, such as restaurants, rec-centers, or other possible places of employment,” Beck said.

Harrell said she feels Beckman Adult Center is on the right track towards more community integration. “As we keep building relationships with those out in the community, we will be able to expose more individuals at our adult centers to employment opportunities,” she said.

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