Pre-Vocational Prepping: Meet Fred Parnther
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Fred Parnther, 47, from Westbury, has lived in the Citizens’ W. Hempstead Residence since March 2008. Prior to the pandemic, Fred was employed at a local gymnasium. Three years later and Fred is eager to get back to work – only this time, he wants a job in clerical or administrative work.
“I want a job because I like to keep busy and get out of the house,” Fred said.
Over the summer, Fred expressed to his group home staff that he wanted to start working again. At his most recent Life Plan meeting with Citizens Options Unlimited, Fred advocated that he would like to find another job. His group home staff and The Center for Developmental Disabilities (CDD), who have supported Fred in career advancement, began researching available pre-vocational programs.
“This will push him to develop a schedule and a routine,” Rochelle Howell, House Manager at the W. Hempstead Residence, said.
Since September, Fred has attended the Career Specific Vocational Training in Clerical Course hosted through Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) in Bethpage. Fred and the small class meet 3 hours a day for 3 days a week to work on skill building as well as interview training.
“I like it so far. I like the work I’m learning,” Fred said. “They give us assignments, same as schoolwork.”
The twelve-week course is funded by a New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) grant to expand opportunities for New Yorkers with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) in employment and job training.
“This is an opportunity to get versed in job-specific tasks,” Deborah Forte, Vocational Innovations Coordinator at The Center for Developmental Disabilities (CDD), said. “He will come out of this with more skills and something to add to his resume.”
Fred has been supported by CDD since January 2018, when he completed the Pathway to Employment course with Vocational Support Services and got hired at a local gymnasium.
After the Career Specific Vocational Training Course at FREE is completed, the CDD will support Fred to again find, interview, and get a job based off his interests and skill set. Fred hopes to work in a library or an electronics retail store, like Best Buy or Apple.
“It really has been a coordinated effort across the three organizations with Fred’s best interest always in mind,” Deborah said. “This training has energized Fred, and he seems more eager than ever to find a job. He is eager to begin exploring clerical and administrative work and definitely has the potential to do so.”