Celebrating 20+ Years at the Home Depot: Meet Jamie Allen
National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2023
This year, Jamie Allen, 42, from Citizens’ Pickwick Residence, is celebrating nine consecutive years of employment as a Store Support at The Home Depot. However, Jamie has been connected to The Home Depot for over 20 years and worked in nearly every department, from paint and tools to holiday and lighting.
“I love setting up the holiday decorations in the store, helping customers, and I love my orange apron,” Jamie said. “I want to work here ‘til I retire.”
Jamie, who has Fragile X Syndrome, graduated from the Farmingdale School District in 2002 at the age of 21. This is the age when people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) “age out” of children’s services and transition to adult services. While in a cooperative learning program at Farmingdale, Jamie did at The Home Depot. SEMP provides job development, placement services, and ongoing support to maintain employment.
After graduation, The Home Depot showed an interest in hiring Jamie. So, she started in the gardening department focusing on watering flowers. She now has developed skills to complete a wide range of tasks like seasonal decorating, customer returns, stocking the aisles, cleaning, taking out the trash, and helping customers locate items.
For the next four years, Jamie had a job coach support her, while also splitting her time at a day program. However, the job coach program ended due to funding issues, which left Jamie unemployed and caused her to become depressed, Angela Sigmon, her sister, said.
Angela and Jamie’s mother eventually connected with another job coach through Independent Support Services (ISS) and Jamie got re-hired at The Home Depot. In the early spring of 2018, Jamie’s mom passed away and she moved into the Citizens Options Unlimited Pickwick group home. She also began receiving SEMP services through Citizens’ agency affiliate, AHRC Nassau, to continue supporting her at The Home Depot.
“Cathy constantly advocated for Jamie to not lose job coaching,” Angela said. “She has put safeguards in place to ensure Jamie’s success.”
While at The Home Depot, Jamie gets a raise every six months, monthly training, quarterly reviews from management, and has been awarded Employee of the Month several times. They even offered her medical benefits, retirement benefits, and stock options, Angela said.
“She’s happier there,” Angela said. “She has more connection, found a purpose and has goals, and gets to be more independent.”
Jamie has created many bonds with her co-workers and frequent customers.
“Everyone is so friendly here and my job coaches (are) so great and so helpful,” Jamie said. “They take good care of me here.”