ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As many industries are seeing a workforce shortage, the Arc of Monroe is training individuals to fill company needs.

Through one of the programs, Job Path, individuals with various disabilities are supported through getting jobs and throughout their employment. Brandy Soloman, Job Path Business Relations Director, said the Arc of Monroe supports a wide range of local businesses.

“Typically on our roster we have at least 200 businesses, and it’s always growing based on the need in our community.”

Declan Handley-Byrne is preparing for the workforce through the Strong Museum’s internship program. Titled ‘SELF at Strong’, it prepares young people with autism for employment.

“Any job you can think of, this program has helped me gain experience for,” said Handley-Byrne.

This includes learning numerous skills like hosting exhibits, data entry, and “even just basic mechanic work with fixing electronics, like pinball machines and arcade machines,” said Handley-Byrne.

At program completion, students are prepared with essential skills to enter the work force. In some cases they move to the Arc’s Job Path program. 

“Our employees are just as valuable and skillful as other employees, and then they come with support as well to get them through some of those tough times,” said Amy Welch, an Employment Specialist at the Arc of Monroe.

Brandy Soloman said when employers hire individuals in the Job Path program, they know the workers have been pre-screened as well.

“Once they are there the business is getting a very high-quality candidate who is ready to not only do the work, but to retain their position.”

As a result, local business and organizations – like the Strong Museum – benefit too by representing the diversity of the city.

“Everybody can come to the museum, they can see themselves reflected – whether it’s background or ability- in the people that are serving them,” said Shane Rhinewald, Senior Public Relations Director at the Strong Museum.

Job Path is the largest employment program in the region and supports over 400 individuals with disabilities.