Guest Bloggers

Journey to a Meaningful Job

Guest blog by AEDD Director of Development Debbie Grooms

For 47 years, AEDD’s mission has been to empower individuals with disabilities to improve the quality of their lives through education, skills training and support.

This mission enables adults with developmental disabilities to become a productive part of our society and has been proven time and again to be the critical difference-maker that enables a person to achieve success.  

“Jobs for You,” a recent initiative by AEDD, embraces its mission through a focus on job placement in Central Arkansas. To achieve this, “Jobs for You” provides resources dedicated to resume writing, interview skills, skill-based employment matching and job training/coaching. Employment through this initiative provides income as well as a means for social interaction and personal independence.

Through this program, AEDD has become an industry leader in finding meaningful employment for adults with developmental disabilities, matching 60 clients with jobs in the area out of 205 adults served by AEDD. The benefits of this initiative are not, however, one-sided: AEDD provides participating businesses with the tools needed to support employees with disabilities, and has improved employee retention rates up to 85 percent for participating employers.

One such employer involved in our Supportive Employment Program is Jay Ramsey, owner of RX Catering, who has been donating to AEDD since 2009. We are truly grateful for Jay and the impact he has had through employing our adults, for more than 10 years. 

Many companies have found that employing persons with disabilities directly improves their ability to understand and serve their customers with disabilities. Adapting services to meet the diverse needs of persons with disabilities allows businesses to develop greater flexibility, build a reputation and improve corporate responsibility. This initiative has proven to community employers that with the right tools and support, there is no challenge that cannot be overcome, no matter a person’s skill level. 

As Developmental Disability Awareness Month comes to a close in the month of March, we appreciate Inviting Arkansas shining a spotlight on our Supportive Employment Program.

For potential job placement or employer information call: Tonya Turner, (501) 537-4214, To help fund this program, contact Debbie Grooms, (501) 801-3646, or Chris Shenep, (501) 801-3640,

Photographed: Jay Ramsey, Debbie Grooms 

Inviting Arkansas

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