Maggie: Carving out a Job to Increase Business Efficiency



Maggie likes being busy. She lives near Boston, MA, and has had several successful jobs in the community. Currently, she works as an office manager's assistant at AMP Agency.

AMP helps well-known businesses like Hasbro, Princess Cruises, Samsung, and Boden with their marketing. Maggie, together with her job developer and the office manager, carved out a job that interested her and benefited AMP.

What's Important

Maggie already had a part-time job in the bakery department at a grocery store. But she wanted another part-time job doing office tasks for an interesting company. With help from Carolyn, Maggie began looking for jobs where she would be a good fit. This was how she found out about the opportunity at AMP.

AMP was hiring more staff that Serena was responsible for training. Serena enjoyed training the new staff, but this responsibility left her with limited time. It was challenging for her to do other tasks, such as keeping the kitchen and conference rooms clean and supplied, entering data, and sorting the mail.

AMP's CEO, Gary Colen, had a family member with a disability, and knew that people with intellectual disabilities could work and wanted jobs in the community. Gary contacted the Employment Services team at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI). He explained that AMP was interested in hiring a candidate with a disability who would make the business run more smoothly. AMP wanted ICI's help figuring out what that person would be doing--their job description.

Two job developers met with Gary and the office manager at AMP to see their work and understand their needs. The job developers suggested that AMP staff create a job that could meet a number of needs, instead of just one.

The people at AMP were interested in meeting with candidates for a job like that. They were willing to tailor the job to the skills and experience of the candidate they liked.

Gary and Serena interviewed Maggie and two other candidates, and chose to hire Maggie. They worked with Carolyn, a job developer from ICI, to carve out a job that would be a great fit for Maggie, and would also help Serena.

Carolyn went to work with Maggie at first. She made sure Maggie was happy with the job and comfortable learning her tasks. She coached Maggie and Serena on the best way to work together, and helped Maggie to get to know her coworkers.

Carolyn also told Serena that her expectations of Maggie should always be as high as they would be for any other employee.

What Happened

Maggie is a fast learner who enjoys working in the creative environment at AMP. She has worked at AMP for two years, in addition to her part-time job at the grocery store. She works at AMP four hours a day, three days a week, and earns ten dollars per hour, and works four hours a day for two days a week at the grocery store.

At AMP, Maggie enters contact information from clients' business cards into a computer. She also sends and receives packages and other mail, makes copies, shreds paper, stocks supplies, makes coffee, and keeps the kitchen and conference rooms clean.

Maggie's duties are organized so that she does all her kitchen tasks at a certain time, office tasks at another time, and supplying tasks at another time. This way, people know when Maggie will be working in each area.

However, tasks may be more or less important, depending on the day. So Maggie has to pay attention to the tweaks that Serena makes to the task list.

To help Maggie recognize short-term staff at AMP, Serena creates flash cards with each person's name, picture, and office number. When Maggie has down time, she reviews these cards. This helps to make interactions with staff and mail deliveries to them easier. A job coach checks in once a week to make sure things are going well.

The managers are happy with Maggie's punctuality, positive attitude, and work ethic. Now that Maggie and Serena work together to accomplish a range of important tasks, Maggie's coworkers can't imagine the company without her.

Lessons Learned

  • The job developers' effort to get to know the staff at AMP and their needs gave them the credibility to make valuable suggestions to the CEO and Serena as they created Maggie's job.
  • Carving out a new position from Serena's extra tasks created a perfect position for Maggie, while allowing Serena to focus on new responsibilities.
  • Creating this new job not only benefited a new employee, but also improved the running of the business.
  • The job coach was important to Maggie's smooth transition into the company. By taking time at the beginning to learn tasks and communicate expectations, Maggie, her job coach, and the office manager set the stage for Maggie to succeed.

For more information, contact:
Serena Springstead: