Serving you: WASCO’s work services manager

Joe Faires is currently the work services manager at WASCO, and has worked for the organization in various positions for more than 20 years. As the work services manager, Faires is in charge of supervising both the supported employment program, and the community placement program currently in place at WASCO.

Question: How long have you worked with WASCO? How did you get started?

Answer: I started working with the Washington County Board of Developmental Disabilities in 1989 at Ewing School and was moved to WASCO after about six months. I knew right away that this was an organization I wanted to work with so I just kept looking for opportunities to move up in the company. I really enjoy working and helping those with disabilities. It’s great to see that you can make a difference in their lives, and it makes you appreciate what you have even more.

Q: What are your duties at WASCO?

A: We used to have an adult services director and when she left her position was split up into two divisions, day habilitation and work services. Essentially I oversee anything that relates to the business side of WASCO. I manage both the supported employment program and our community placement program, Pathways. Our supported employment program is a way for employees to learn the skills necessary to thrive. There is always a supervisor on site and the goal is to prepare our workers for community employment.

Q: How many clients does WASCO currently serve?

A: We work out of Washington and Athens counties and have several different departments. For the cleaning work that we do we have about 50 workers spread out over about 17 different job sites. Inside on the production floor, I’d say we have between 50 and 75 people working on various jobs. Although I’m still relatively new with Pathways I believe they have about 32 people currently employed in the community through that program.

Q: With how many businesses are you working?

A: ODOT is the largest business we currently work with and we have 10 cleaning sites through them alone. We also work with about four other businesses for cleaning duties and we maintain Veto Lake and (a lock) year round for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. During the summer from about April until the end of October we run a mowing service that will take care of anywhere between 30 and 50 sites depending on returning customers.

Q: Anything new or different on the horizon for WASCO in 2013?

A: As far as something new goes we really just want to push for the Community Employment First initiative for the people that we are serving. We want those we have in supported employment to feel comfortable in branching out and seeking new employment in the community. The supported employment is in place to give our workers the skills they need in order to be able to succeed as employees in the community. It should serve as a stepping stone so that workers can move on to other positions and provide opportunities for new people to take advantage of our supported employment services.

Christian Hudspeth conducted this interview.