Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

Supported Employment: Ting

The Adult Detention Facility in Seattle. Ting Chou works in the Records Department. Ting: “My job is to process the mail …sort and file all the account records …and organize.” And organizing this mountain of documents is not easy. Andrea: “We’ve got close to 900 employees so it’s …all of their records, all of our inmate records …all of our operational records …it’s a lot.” But there’s a lot of encouragement. “Hey Ting, how are you?” “Ok buddy, you?” “Not too bad, how’s your day going?” “I can’t complain, it’s an awesome day.” “Good, you have a good day, buddy.” “You too.” Andrea: “Ting is great, he’s very fun. …He says hello to everybody.” “Thank You Ting.” “No problem, Kathy, Nicole.” …and everyone says hello to Ting. Everyone.” Ting: “It is fun to come to work …and my co-workers are supportive, nice, funny and helpful.” Ting is part of King County Supported Employment Program. Supported Employment is a county program that helps connect candidates with developmental disabilities to County jobs. It’s called supported employment because candidates have a job coach, a state-funded job coach, that helps them find a job, go through the onboarding and training process as well as retain their job here at King County. Hey Scott how are you? Ok, what are you working on? Booking a packet filing. Scott is Ting’s job coach. Anything I can help you with? Nothing yet. Ting is a very energetic man, probably one of the most gregarious folks I think you would meet. He makes friends instantaneously and he’s a very bright man as well. I’ve not heard about any mistakes really. So far there’s only one mistake. Yeah that’s it. I think the job coach is there more like a mentor and to help Ting with his day-to-day work assignments to make sure he understands. Ting has worked for King County for 17 years. But most of that time in a different facility. He was a cook’s helper at the juvenile facility. He liked the job and he did well there. But there were some changes in his life and he needed to make a change in his career as well. So we worked with Christina from Supported Employment and also HR and the Guild was also pretty essential. They worked together to create an entirely new job for Ting. He was seen as part of the family and it was really pretty touching to see how his connection with the members at the Juvenile Detention Center. I know it was hard for them to see him go. But they were really happy with this new opportunity. But it meant transitioning from a kitchen to an office. We saw a need. We determined that he would be a good fit for that body of work so we created a temporary assignment to kind of get a feel for him over there in the jail and it worked out for him. We had to learn a whole new job and he just went after it. I have known so many things like computer work and computer software. Software including Microsoft Outlook and… “Excel I’m using Excel to take care of the claims.” Hi Andrea, something’s missing here-no names. I think we’re gonna file this one under “A”. Okay got it. If you set a goal for it, then you can accomplish a lot of new goals and new achievements. He is also teaching others. People with disabilities become more than an abstract. So when somebody says oh this person has Autism what this person has Down Syndrome, it doesn’t really mean a lot to somebody unless they have personal experience with a person with a disability. Having an inclusive environment really adds to the quality of life for everybody I think. His co-workers have really enjoyed having him here. Our office environment has changed it’s become more collaborative. It gives people an opportunity to work with Ting and and realize that he’s, you know, he’s just a person who’s trying to perform a job and although he has some disabilities he can still do the tasks that are set before him in a productive way and that’s all we want of any employee. Getting to know my boss and my coworkers is fan and I’m a hard-working guy and I love to work. He makes it feel more inviting just to be there. He kind of cheers everybody up. He’s like a little sunshine walking around. And Ting feels the same way. I do. I love them so much. I love them. I care about them and they are in my heart. (Laughs)

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