Retail stores in Northeast Ohio provide job training

They work hard every day at Just A Buck discount store, stocking shelves, running the cash register, greeting customers and unloading trucks.

Just A Buck employs about 50 people with all types of developmental disabilities, from Down Syndrome to cerebral palsy, at its three stores in Parma, Rocky River and South Euclid.

Zach Williamson of Cleveland bags items for a customer.
Zach Williamson of Cleveland bags items for a customer.

“We’re a training program, a stepping stone for them to become successful in other employment opportunities,” said Kim Pritchard, retail operations manager.

Solutions at Work owns Just A Buck. The nonprofit is an affiliate of the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities that provides employment, training, career growth and customized support for people with developmental disabilities.

The board supports 235 people with developmental disabilities who are competitively employed in the community and 445 people who work in enclaves like Just A Buck, with a team of their peers supported by staff who perform paid work while learning  job skills. Examples of enclaves include custodial, landscaping, food service, and industry-specific tasks based on the needs of employers.

In addition to its three Just A Buck Stores, Solutions at Work also owns Cleveland Crops, where workers learn farming skills on four different sites. They also get food service training at the Crops Café at Virgil Brown in the Cuyahoga County Department of Job and Family Service administration building, and culinary arts training at the Cleveland Crops Food Innovation Center.

“People with disabilities have much to offer employers and contribute positively to a business’s bottom line, including reduced turnover, high performance level and loyalty, and increased diversity,” said Marie Barnie, board communications manager. “Our employment training programs are a vital resource to help individuals learn needed job skills in community settings and to highlight the great potential of this untapped labor pool.”

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