Tempe’s BEST empowers people with disabilities to get jobs, gain esteem

Julia Hancock, a graduate of Tempe’s BEST, says she loves her new job with the city.

For those with developmental disabilities, finding a job can be a challenge. They may struggle to navigate the hiring process, especially interviews.

Tempe has developed a program for them.

Tempe’s BEST (Building Employment Supports and Training), which helps those with developmental disabilities, is mutually beneficial. People with disabilities learn a skill to succeed on the job while the city gains great new employees.

Through Tempe’s BEST, Julia Hancock was hired as a part-time custodian in the summer of 2019. She received assistance in applying for and preparing for a city job. Once she started in her position, Hancock received job-coaching support and her co-workers received disability-awareness training.

“The folks at the Tempe BEST program have allowed me to watch my daughter become an independent go-getter,” said Julia’s mother, Donna Sullivan-Hancock, who is a city employee in the Community Development Department. “I cannot speak more highly about the benefits of this program for my daughter, and the wonder it has brought to our entire family.”

On-site visits by job coaches and the program coordinator helped Hancock gain independence on the job.

“The BEST program helped me out so much with everything,” Hancock said. “They made me feel included.”

After ongoing collaboration and assessment with her job coach, her vocational rehabilitation counselor, her supervisors and the program coordinator, Hancock successfully graduated from the BEST Program and remains employed by the city today.

“Julia is new to the custodial field, but a fast learner,” said co-worker Dawn Holst. “She has a fabulous personality and an excellent work ethic.”

Tempe’s BEST program is funded by the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council with support from the City of Tempe. For more information, please visit Tempe ADA/Accessibility or contact BEST Coordinator Max Ryser at 480-401-5631 or Max_Ryser@tempe.gov.

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