Securing meaningful employment through Devereux Pennsylvania’s CAAPP program
Whether she is whipping up a walnut cake or creating heart-shaped sugar cookies – it is clear – Emily Judovits has a talent and passion for baking.
In 2016, Judovits, who receives services through Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Pennsylvania, secured a job that allows her to spend time doing what she loves. She works 15 to 20 per week in the bakery at Wegman’s supermarket in Collegeville, Pa.
Judovits credits Devereux Pennsylvania’s Community Adult Autism Partnership Program (CAAPP), which provides individualized and innovative community-based support services for adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other disabilities, with teaching her essential job and social skills, and helping her thrive in the community.
“I enjoy working with the people in the bakery. Most of my co-workers have been there for a while,” said Judovits. “I am in charge of making chocolate chip cookies, cannoli chips and restocking sections of the bakery. I have learned to stay on task – and stay safe during the pandemic by washing my hands a lot.”
Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services Executive Director Carol Anne McNellis, Psy.D. BCBA, notes the importance of including individuals with disabilities in the workforce. “All individuals deserve a chance to showcase their skills and talents and secure meaningful and competitive employment in their communities,” McNellis explained. “Employers who hire individuals with disabilities gain team members who are creative, persistent, hard-working and loyal – and excel in their jobs.”
Making connections and contributions
Joey Baumgart, who also is enrolled in Devereux Pennsylvania’s CAAPP program, has worked as a custodian for the past six years at Giant supermarket in Brookhaven, Pa., where he assists with various cleaning and sanitization tasks, as well as shopping cart retrieval.
“I enjoy the freedom and variation in my day. I never get bored – I can always find something to do,” Baumgart shared. “I also like the relationship I have with my boss and the trust he has in me. He seeks my input because I am honest. I actually have enjoyed working during the pandemic. People respect my job a lot more and show their appreciation. One day, I told a veteran, ‘Thank you for your service,’ and he actually thanked me for my service.”
Baumgart says Devereux Pennsylvania’s CAAPP team has taught him how to manage stress more effectively and improve his social skills, which he has further developed since working at Giant. “I have learned how to connect with co-workers, talk to customers and make eye-contact,” Baumgart shared.
Goals for now and the future
When they are not at work, Judovits enjoys playing video games, drawing and listening to music, while Baumgart likes playing musical instruments (e.g., drums and bass guitar) and spending with his friends and family, or at the comic book store.
Both Judovits and Baumgart are proud of all they have accomplished and excited to see what the future holds.
“I would like to learn how to drive,” said Judovits. “I also want to go to school for business, so one day, I could possibly start my own food business.”
Baumgart noted, “I like to live my life in the moment, see where it takes me, and if an opportunity comes up – I will take it.”
Learn more about Devereux Pennsylvania’s Community Adult Autism Partnership Program, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.
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