The Emory Valley Center in Oak Ridge matches clients with disabilities with local companies and paying jobs.
One of those businesses, The Erb Agency, has earned Community Employer of the Year.
This isn't Michele Craft's first job.
"I worked at the library at Oak Ridge High School and I get paid and worked at the office putting bulletins in the teacher's boxes," she explained.
Now she works as an Executive Assistant at The Erb Agency Allstate Insurance Company in Clinton Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
"I like to do some shredding, filing, and metering and highlighting the letters," she explained.
The rest of the week she's at the Emory Valley Center in Oak Ridge where she reinforces her skills.
"We do beads, and mailing and do some shredding and filing too," she said.
The Emory Valley Center's supported employment program finds the right match between clients and companies.
"The individuals who we serve really want just an opportunity to go and to work," Norm Nelson with Emory Valley Center said.
The program provides a job coach.
"The job coach will assist and will accompany the individual to help them be successful and actually learn the job," he said.
David Erb explained how Michele landed the job at The Erb Agency.
"She went through a formal interview process with myself, Natalie, and everybody else in the office to make sure there was good synergy that was there," he said.
David and Natalie Erb felt a connection to Michele right away because of their youngest daughter Amelia.
"She has a developmental disability that has some of the same symptoms that Michele has," he said.
Michele gives them hope.
"Michele is a vital part of this agency and she enriches everybody's lives in here and that's the only thing that we could ever possibly hope for for our own daughter," he said.
In fact their daughter attends the Early Learning Center at Emory Valley.
"Michele just does a wonderful job at it and she's very efficient. As a matter of fact sometimes we run out of work for her to do," he said.
While Michele likes her office duties she especially enjoys meeting customers.
"I say how are you doing? Nice pleasant weather we're having," she said.
She spent her first paycheck on something special she keeps on her desk.
"I bought the National Weather Radio because they need it because some bad storms came through. So we can take cover in case of an emergency and stuff," she said.
Yes, she's looking out for her co-workers...
The program is always looking for businesses to participate.
David Erb said, "Pretty much any small office can do this and any big office has no excuse whatsoever."
The Erb Agency earned the Community Employer of the Year award for the successful match with
Michele Craft, Executive Assistant.
She's a woman whose willing to work who loves her job.
The Emory Valley Center is raising money for a new facility in Oak Ridge.
A fundraiser this Friday is called Rock-A-Moolah. It will feature the band Jada Blade.
Rock-A-Moolah is at High Places Church in Oak Ridge.
Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00.
Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.