Guest post: Learning to work independently

Michael B Warren DD Rusty Bucket
Michael Broerman has worked at the Rusty Bucket in Mason for one year.

Contributed by the Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Michael Broerman, age 23, works at the Rusty Bucket in Mason, Ohio. Broerman, a graduate of Project Search, recently celebrated his one-year anniversary working as a restaurant assistant. He works 15 hours a week, Monday through Friday, and his duties are to clean tables, chairs, and blinds, fold towels and aprons, and assist in the kitchen.

“We love him,” said Tony Weisent, Dining Room Manager for Rusty Bucket. “He’s always smiling, always in a good mood, he likes to help people, and is dependable.” General Manager Mike Mihaltian of the Rusty Bucket created Broerman’s position when he decided to hire some with developmental disabilities.

Broerman uses his iPod to keep himself on task. He has a list of duties and responsibilities he follows. His mother, Laura Wheaton helped him create his list. “The Rusty Bucket has been a blessing in our lives,” she said. “The kindness they have shown Michael is a prayer answered to us parents of a special needs young adult.”

“This is Michael’s first job where he hasn’t had a job coach continuously on site with him. Everyone at the Rusty Bucket has been supportive of Michael every step of the way, and it is awesome to see him succeed and work independently,” said Paula Washek, Program Coordinator of Community Employment with the Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Project Search is a unique program that provides real-life work experiences to help youth with significant disabilities make successful transition from school to adult life. While in high school, students participate in the one year school-to-work, business led transition program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations.

The Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern is a full-service establishment that is open daily for lunch and dinner.

The Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities supports more than 1,800 individuals with disabilities and their families, through Early Intervention, Adult, Employment, Social and Recreational, Residential, Therapy, and other programs.

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