Judy: Using a Job Developer's Professional Networks


Judy had been working in a facility-based workshop. She had tried a few jobs in the community, such as a bagger at a local grocery store, but most of her community work experience had been at enclave sites. Judy really wanted a job in the community but was disappointed with her experience as a bagger because she felt uncomfortable working in a noisy place. Judy shared her interest in crafts and working with people who are elderly, and expressed a desire for a part-time job. Judy's job developer achieved this goal by using his professional networks.

The job search

For the first time in Judy's life, a comprehensive person-centered career planning process was conducted by a trained facilitator and attended by family members, friends, and professionals. The group learned about all the work opportunities Judy had tried and her experience doing basic housekeeping tasks at home with her family. Judy also really liked her previous job as an activity aide at nursing home, but was unfortunately laid-off due to restructuring. She also had some previous experience working as dishwasher at a local college. Judy is a very active member of her community and expressed the desire to work with elderly people. She also stated that she enjoys making crafts and teaching others to be creative. She wanted to work part-time so she would have time to work on her craft projects at home.


Judy's job developer spends a significant amount of time maintaining relationships with employers in his local community, routinely dropping in just to say hello. He has often relied on these relationships to create new opportunities for the individuals he supports. He had worked with the Council on Aging in the past with other individuals, and contacted them again to see if there were any opportunities for Judy.

The Council on Aging said that the Meals on Wheels program had a position available for someone who would be willing to organize ready-made meals for distribution in the community. After discussing the potential opportunity, Judy expressed that she would be very happy to try it. The supervisor of the Council on Aging interviewed Judy, explaining that along with preparing the meals, there would be a great deal of interaction with the participants in the program. Judy thought this was great, as she really wanted the opportunity to socialize. Judy's job developer assisted Judy in discussing some of her particular needs on the job. These included clear instructions for each task, a supervisor who is easy to access, and the ability to have a job coach initially to help her learn the routine. The Council on Aging was very receptive to all of these requests.

What happened

Judy now works at the North Attleboro Council on Aging Monday through Friday mornings preparing meals for the mobile units as well as for participants that frequent the Council On Aging to dine. She has the opportunity to socialize with those who come to the center and has developed some new relationships. Judy reports that she loves her job and is very happy in her current position. She no longer attends the workshop because she receives a paycheck from her job, although she continues to visit her friends there for holiday gatherings and other special occasions. Judy's placement has lead to an improved social life and connectedness within her community. She participates in a craft workshop through the Council and teaches participants in that program. Judy was recently featured in a local newspaper article about her work. Staff at the Council on Aging report that Judy does a fantastic job and is a great asset. AEI's job developer still maintains contact with the both the Council on Aging and with Judy to ensure her success.

Lessons learned

  • Take time for planning. Judy's job developer was able to understand her interests, skills and prior experience through a formal, focused career planning process.
  • Commit to intentional relationship building with businesses in the local community. Judy's job developer relies on these business relationships when developing new options for those he supports.
  • Take advantage of business relationships that already exist. The job developer accessed an important professional networking relationship for Judy to explore as an employment venue.
  • Consider the importance of maintaining personal friendships. Attention has been paid to supporting Judy to expand and maintain her relationships and community connections by visiting friends at AEI and participating in other activities such as the craft workshop.

For More Information, Contact:

Jaimie Timmons
Research Associate
Institute for Community Inclusion
University of Massachusetts Boston
(941) 929-7115

John Raposa
Attleboro Enterprises, Inc.
284 John L Dietsch Blvd
North Attleboro, MA 02763
(508) 695-4046 x105