VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Richie Ammons believes his son Ramsey's new job at his favorite grocery store is a dream come true.
"This is just a great place for him," Richie said, "I think he'll fit in."
Ramsey, who likes to "stack the boxes and sweep" at the store, said he's "very excited" to start working.
They credit a Virginia Beach-based company called Able Workspace with helping Ramsey, who has autism, land the job.
"We took a job interview class 101, and we were able to up his skills," Richie said. "And we got here, we did the interview, and he actually got the job, hired on the spot."
Speech Pathologist Camille Boyd launched the company in 2018 to provide job prep for people with disabilities.
"What Able Workspace did was combine that opportunity to teach functional communication skills that go along with business communication in the workplace so that they have access to friends, jobs, and a joyful life," Boyd said.
Able Workspace's "Let's Get Social at Work" program helps people with disabilities learn how to connect with coworkers.
"We teach them how to introduce themselves, how to enter and exit conversations with team members and customers, as well as solve problems," Boyd said.
The company also teaches skills like resume building, networking and goal planning.
"The employer already knows who they're looking for," Boyd said. "But most job seekers don't really know what they're looking for. So, we teach them."
Those job seekers are then matched with businesses and nonprofits, which Able Workspace helps build diversity and inclusion within their work environments.
"The employer feels more comfortable, like, this can be done, and it works for my bottom line," Boyd said. "It is about adding value to your company."
The goal is to transform access to employment so more people, like Ramsey, can get to work.
"Tell me hi, good morning," Ramsey asks of customers at the grocery store where he'll be working. "And I like to say hi to them."
Able Workspace wants to partner with employers that support hiring people with disabilities. To learn more, reach out to the company at (757) 577-0960, email@example.com, or through the Able Workspace website.