GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - For National Disability Awareness Month, the Eastern Carolina Vocational Center is spotlighting its clients with diagnosed disabilities for their dedication to a strong work ethic and teamwork.
One of those spotlighted workers can be seen maintaining the patio and parking lot of the Sonic Drive-In on Firetower Road in Greenville.
Tedrick Johnson is tasked with sweeping and pressure washing the store area and his managers say he is an exceptional worker.
For all workers, whether they are differently-abled or not, confidence on the job is essential. Johnson’s assignments at Sonic provide him with that confidence.
“When he’s focused on washing certain items on the patio or pressure washing the lot, it gives him the confidence to know... Yes, I can complete this job. I can do this job well and I know what I’m doing,” said Sonic Manager Omara Carmon.
Johnson’s father, Toney Johnson, says he has noticed a change in his son’s urgency.
“He wants to make sure that I’m coming to pick him up on time. Make sure he gets to work,” Toney Johnson says. “So, one thing that lets me know as a father is that he likes his workplace and he likes the workplace environment here at Sonic.”
Tedrick Johnson likes his job so much, he is working with his job placement specialist to put in some more hours on the clock.
“I can tell when Tedrick is here and I can tell when he’s not,” Lisa Taylor, employment specialist at ECVC said. “Couldn’t have asked for a better person for this time, for this moment.”
As a worker shortage impacts businesses across the country, ECVC urges local managers to think outside of the box to fill their next open position with someone who is eager to make a difference.
“Differently-abled workers approach it as not a chore but as an opportunity,” Laura Pittman, job developer at ECVC said. “And that’s what we need! We need more workers who are excited to go to work and looking for ways that they can contribute to their community.”
ECVC partners with local grocery stores, fast food chains, hotels, and offices to place differently-abled workers in jobs that highlight their strengths.
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