Connecting the Dots: Why Partnerships Are Crucial

By CRC Kelly Stockdale
In a recent push to help clients in the northwest portion of the state, GVRA is proactively identifying and interacting with key regional employers. Denine Woodson, Director of Sensory Services, identified Aramark’s Ricky Hames—who runs Berry College’s food services—as a key regional employer for the Deaf in the Rome/Floyd county area. This comes on the heels of Ricky’s success with GVRA client, Donna Southerland.

Donna, one of three Deaf Aramark employees working under Hames at Berry College, was placed by Lela Guerra, Employment Specialist in the Rome GVRA unit. Donna was recently recognized by Ricky for her superior performance and work ethic. He told Denine and the rest of the GVRA team that he wants to expand the Berry College Food Services operation and in doing so, hire more GVRA clients.

Donna expressed her gratitude to Ricky for “giving the Deaf a chance.” Ricky said he had no reservations in hiring clients who are Deaf, showing both Aramark’s and his own positive perspective about how people with hearing loss have the ability to contribute to Aramark’s success.

“It has been wonderful to work with Mr. Hames,” Lela said. “He has shown so much respect to our clients. We appreciate him giving our clients an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and to work.”

Ricky was also quick to recognize the contribution of GREAT Day Works, Inc. Job Coach Jenna Isham. Jenna provides coaching support using American Sign Language during employees’ new hire training period. Paul Ray, GVRA Rome Unit Manager, recognized his staff’s commitment to service design and delivery for GVRA’s clients who are Deaf.

According to Woodson, “Aramark is one of many employers that we will be identifying; we are excited about the partnership opportunity to build the GVRA brand as a highly sought-after resource for placing quality candidates”.