More Fayette County residents have found success in job searches thanks to programs offered by Fayette Progressive Industries (FPI) over the years.
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 build physical skills, such as mopping, folding or sorting, to social skills, such as learning to connect to customers or networkings, FPI has work for years to help raise the standard of living for disabled residents.
Eddie Hartshorn, son of Libby and Ed Hartshorn, is one of the participating Washington C.H. residents who has found success through the Bridges to Transition program. Eddie, who currently serves as evening janitor for Fayette Progressive Industries, has used these skills he has learned to work hard at his job.
“I do janitor duties here for work,” Hartshorn said during an interview recently. “I sweep, mop, vacuum, clean tables, wipe out the microwaves. I also clean up the offices once everyone leaves and I take out the trash. I want to work close to home and would like to work at fast food, but something close. I want to learn to be careful on the grill and maybe have my dad teach me to be a good fry cook. I really like cooking.”
Hartshorn, a young adult, has also been heavily involved in an event named after him, “Eddie’s Run.” Eddie’s Run is a non-profit event that has been utilized in the past few years as a fundraiser for other programs at Fayette Progressive Industries. Eddie’s Run, which will be held Aug. 22 at the Fayette County Fairgrounds, has helped Eddie and his father raise thousands of dollars for participating residents to enjoy sports of all varieties and the Special Olympics with Fayette Progressive Industries. Between basketball, track, softball, bowling and more, Eddie has helped to keep sports at Fayette Progressive Industries.
“Eddie is excellent, a self-starter, very energetic and really takes a lot of pride in his job,” Tonda Dearth, Hartshorn’s supervisor said. “He recognizes the health issues involved with cleaning after a place like this. He is a hard worker who double checks everything he does, and between us we do eight hours of work in about three hours. He knows all of the different cleaners we use and he makes sure he is using the right stuff on the right surfaces. Though, if anyone should know something about Eddie, it is that he enjoys art and loves super heroes because he said he knows that ‘Good will always triumph over evil.’”
Hartshorn wants to be a comic book artist some day and has already worked with artist Gary Smith, a friend of his father’s, on some characters. He is always full of energy and possesses a creative mind that has helped with organizing Eddie’s Run and helps him power through the work day.
“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 second in a series that will showcase 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.