The Melting Pot Goes the Extra Mile to Accommodate Employee Who has a Disability
Coral Springs, FL – Richard Kramer leans against the table at The Melting Pot in Coral Springs making conversation with the customers. He enjoys talking to people, but he’s also stretching out his back while he’s talking and refilling their drink glasses. It’s a coping mechanism he’s created to help him stay longer on the floor as a serving assistant.
Richard has degenerative disk disease, arthritis in his neck, and poor motor skills in his hands, but he still was determined to work; he just had to find the right job for him. That’s why he came to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), a state agency that helps people get or keep a job.
He met with his VR counselor and together they talked about job options. He could only work part-time due to his disability, but when he was younger he had worked in a restaurant doing a variety of jobs, so that’s where they focused his job search.
After being referred to Job Coach Madeline Scaduto, Richard and Madeline got straight to work. Madeline created a resume for Richard because he had trouble typing on the computer. In the meantime, Melting Pot owner, Jere Cook, had contacted VR and asked if the agency had someone to recommend for an open position at the restaurant. Madeline arranged for Richard to have an interview, and he got the job.
Richard loves his job at The Melting Pot. “I do everything that the restaurant needs to be done,” says Richard. “I do the things necessary to make the restaurant move smoothly. I’ve subbed as a dishwasher, trained in the kitchen, and hopefully will train behind the bar. I started out at minimum wage and after a month I was bumped up. It was a wonderful gesture in a short period of time.”
Richard only works part-time at the moment. “I’m part-time because my body won’t handle more,” he explains. “They’re very accommodating with my hours. When I get tired they tell me to rest. They know my limitations and work with me.”
“Richard is the first person with a disability who I’ve hired and worked with, and he’s a great addition to our team,” says Jere, his supervisor. “You just have to go into it knowing that you have to find the right person for the job and modify the job for the person’s capabilities. It’s always a work in progress. We look for someone who has the drive and desire to work. If that’s the case, we’re willing to teach them.”
Madeline is very proud of Richard, and says, “They like him because he’s funny and approachable. It’s a fun environment, and I think the younger people who work there look up to him. It’s not a glamorous job, but he’s very happy working there. It was a good transition because it was exactly what he wanted.”
Richard appreciates VR and Madeline for all they did for him. “Madeline is a firecracker who’s on top of things. She went above and beyond. VR is a wonderful tool for people with disabilities to find work. The people at VR were very helpful. Once I got the job, they bought my uniforms and really good shoes which are important for my back.” Richard hopes to continue working at The Melting Pot for a long time.
Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. The employer-focused website, https://abilitieswork.employflorida.com/, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 90 offices across Florida, and last year helped 5,760 Floridians with significant disabilities get or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit http://www.Rehabworks.org.