Devon Hardesty's dream job is to be "Superman," but for now, he is happy with his job at St. Anthony's Hospital in Pendleton.
The 21-year-old has worked at St. Anthony's Hospital since September 2014. He works 20 hours per week, and makes $11.75 an hour.
Devon's job as a food service associate includes prepping the deli case at the hospital café, Green Mountain Marketplace & Cafe, including preparing and packaging items such as egg salad and tuna fish salads. He collects hospital trays, and sometimes delivers food to patients. He also helps out behind the counter, giving him a lot of time to talk with customers.
"I really like it here, but it can be hard to remember not too move so fast," Devon said.
His manager, Dustin Tiensvold, explained that because Devon enjoys the social part of his job so much, sometimes he would rush through tasks to allow for more time to chat with his coworkers and customers.
"He is very social," Dustin said, laughing. "Sometimes we have to remind him to slow down a bit. But it has been a real benefit to have him here."
Devon experiences an intellectual disability. At the time of his hire, Devon was part of the Employment First Seamless Transition Pilot, a pilot to develop best practice guidelines for helping students with disabilities to obtain their job of choice by the time they exit from their high school transition program.
His job success was due in part to a collaborative partnership between Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor Diane Ashley, VR Human Service Assistant Kim Shepherd, and Devon's personal assistant (PA), Michael Swanson, with Eastern Oregon Support Services Brokerage. Diane worked to get an interview for Devon at St. Anthony's, and Michael worked closely with Devon to practice interviewing and answering questions.
"We also helped Devon build a resume, because he has many skills that are a great fit for St. Anthony's," Diane said. "It's really a job carve because St. Anthony's was willing to carve out tasks that fit Devon's skills and interests."
Dustin said while the hospital is very strict about its hiring practices, it also wants to be a model employer in the Pendleton community.
"We have so many types of jobs that it's great we can find good fits for people with special skill sets like Devon," he said.
Michael Swanson said Devon receives ongoing supports through his brokerage, including transportation to and from work.
"One of the things that is working really well (in Pendleton) is the relationship between VR and the brokerage," Swanson said. "We're all working together. There is a cohesive goal now around community employment, it's all transparent, and we're in it together."
See a slideshow of Devon at work.