We can all learn a thing or two from Joe, who works part-time as a dishwasher at the Steak ‘n Shake on Suemandy Drive in St. Peters. He likes his job and everyone he talks to about his job, knows how much he likes it.
“Joe is a phenomenal worker and always brings positive energy here,” Bethany Klohr, Restaurant Manager at Steak ‘n Shake, said. “Every time he comes in, everyone lifts up and the morale jumps up. Everyone smiles when they’re around him.”
Joe was receiving services from Community Living’s Adult Recreation and Residential programs when he was referred to Community Living’s Employment Services program. In early spring, Pam Westhoff, Vocational Coordinator, began working with Joe through the Building Employment Skills Training (B.E.S.T.) program.
Through the B.E.S.T. program, Community Living’s Employment Services staff works with individuals who require additional assistance in reaching their full employment potential. The purpose of the B.E.S.T. program is to help equip individuals with important job and workplace skills and to develop the confidence needed to succeed in the workforce.
B.E.S.T. is individualized and the area of focus varies from person to person. For Joe, he began volunteering at Steak ‘n Shake in early spring as a way to work on job skills. “There was no reason for him to go test out other places, as he loved it at Steak ‘n Shake,” Pam said. “He wanted to work here, and he had the dishwashing skills down pretty quickly. It was great when we were told Joe was wanted as a coworker.”
Joe began as a Steak ‘n Shake team member on June 22, and his favorite part of working is making money, which he is saving to go shopping for clothes. Of course, he also enjoys having the independence of getting out of his house for a few hours each week. Joe works 5-9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
Since he started, Pam has noticed Joe has become more social with his coworkers. “There’s a sense of pride,” Pam said. “He’s comfortable in his environment and he knows what he is doing is important.”
Just as Joe likes his job, Bethany likes that Joe is teaching the other team members whether they realize it or not. “I think it’s good for them to see that nothing holds Joe back from anything,” Bethany said. “If you have a goal, you have a goal, and we all try to work hard for it. Also, he shows them that it’s okay to be happy at work, no matter how hard the job is. I think it’s great that everyone can work together. Honestly, none of us look at Joe differently, he’s a team member just like all of us, who just comes in happy and ready to work.”