Payday at The Haven has always been something out of the ordinary according to Sierra Ebersol, The Haven’s director of client services.
Now it’s going to be even bigger.
Construction begin in February on The Haven’s new Frank Stern Employment Center, a 7,500-square-foot facility that is expected to add 80 jobs for working individuals with disabilities.
The center will provide paid job opportunities for 300 clients in all and will provide the workers with various skills they will need to transition into the workplace.
It should make paydays very interesting.
“Payday is nuts here,” Ebersol said. “(The people we serve) know when the FedEx truck is here that they are getting paid. I’ve never seen someone so excited about a paycheck. To see that, when most of us take it for granted, is pretty neat. Especially giving someone their first paycheck ever — that is the coolest.”
Seeing the workers so excited for being compensated for their work brings joy to The Haven employees as well.
“It is really special,” said Brad Jones, the chief executive officer and president of The Haven. “Their expressions are priceless. It could be $1 or $200 — it doesn’t matter to them. Some of the families never thought that their son or daughter would ever get a job, or better yet get paid.”
The building, which is being constructed in response to a growing list of clients who were hoping to be employed, should be in use by August for those in the employment services program.
The building also will accommodate career training education for up to 300 individuals.
Jones said the new facility will have loading docks that will allow The Haven to partner with more companies willing to offer employment opportunities. The new facility also will have a cafeteria, three classrooms where students will learn technical skills, and a warehouse.
“There is a huge population of people who just cannot get a job in this community because they just need the training,” Jones said.
“Our (workers) will be doing things like packaging, assembly work, labeling and gluing things together,” Ebersol said. “The beauty of this program is that it is appropriate for any ability level.”
The Haven has a payroll of $150,000 a year for its workers. It offers workers hourly jobs at minimum wage, which equates to about $600 to $700 every month per worker.
A 7,500-square-foot, specially designed training facility that is under construction at The Haven campus and is expected to be complete in August. Construction began in February. The warehouse will have three classrooms with updated technology, a break room and a multipurpose warehouse. It will provide paid jobs for 300 working individuals with disabilities and will provide workers with various skills as they prepare to ultimately transition into the competitive workplace.
Original Publication Observer
Staff Writer Berkley Mason