Fayette Progressive Industries (FPI) continues to see success stories come out of its employment programs.
Through utilization of the Employment First initiative (EFI), an effort that helps developmentally disabled adults to find work, and the Bridges to Transition program, which teaches them applicable skills to join the workforce, many have found success. Whether to help them cultivate physical skills, such as mopping, folding or sorting, to social skills, such as learning to connect to customers or networking opportunities, FPI has worked for years to help raise the standard of living for disabled residents.
Ethan Cowman, a Fayette County resident, has been working at Forward Air Inc. In over nine months on the job, he has experienced success and has found more independence for him and his family.
“I am a material handler at Forward Air,” Cowman said. “We unload trucks there and whatever Stage sends over on the conveyor belt we sort it. We number them and put them onto a tote and skid we have. I really enjoy my job.”
Cowman also earned employee of the month earlier this year for his hard work and determination.
“He is sweet and is always willing to try,” Heith Frazier, Cowman’s supervisor at Forward Air, said. “Fayette Progressive helped him to get started by helping him apply for the job, go through the interview process and also with training for their on job duties. That person who helped him get through acquiring the job also calls him every now and then to check up on his job performance and talks with him to pep him up if need be. He gets along with all of the other employees and we are glad to have him on the team.”
Cowman also participates in sports through Fayette Progressive. Out of the programs offered, Cowman takes part in basketball, softball and bowling. Cowman offers some advice to potential employers of residents with disabilities: Take the time to understand the situation of the employee and remember to always continue to give them help and support them.
Cowman plans on continuing work at Forward Air and said he hopes to move up within the company.
“We really want employers to realize these individuals all possess skills, determination and ethics that they are looking for,” Betty Reisinger, community service specialist at Fayette Progressive, said. “All they need is a bit of guidance and some practice, and they can make the best employees at any business.”
This story is the seventh in a series that showcases the success stories of individuals within the county with disabilities who have faced adversity and grown through the process to become more independent adults. For more information about the programs described here and other programs, contact Fayette Progressive Industries at (740) 335-7453.