October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. It’s a time to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and educate others about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.
Johnson County’s Project SEARCH is an education and employment program offered by Johnson County Developmental Supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities 18 years of age or older who are interested in community employment. Whether it's making a connection between a client and a potential employer, helping with resume writing, conducting practice interviews or providing on-site coaching once a client gets a job; JCDS is right beside them.
Michael Gabbert is not only 2018 Project SEARCH graduate, but a success story as well. He has been working 40 hours a week at Shawnee Mission Medical Center since August. Among his responsibilities, he transports roughly 15 to 25 patients to and from various departments within the hospital for tests, to their rooms when they are first admitted from the emergency room and then to their cars when it's time to go home. This job is physically and mentally demanding as he is transporting very sick patients in both wheelchairs and by bed who are often times hooked up to IV’s and oxygen tanks.
Gabbert is building an incredible reputation for himself as being detail-oriented, hardworking, dependable and most of all, friendly. One patient and his supervisor described him as "standing out" because he always goes above and beyond to make the patients feel comfortable and cared for. Gabbert has received praise from several patients for demonstrating a friendly and calming demeanor.
He was recognized during the most recent Johnson County Board of County Commissioners meeting when a proclamation was presented.
"Thank you for the important work that you do and the important service that you provide to members of the community," said Ed Eilert, chairman of the BOCC.