RAYNHAM (CBS) — April is World Autism Month and a local company is being honored for its’ special commitment to hiring people with intellectual or physical disabilities.
We recently met 18-year-old Abby, who is on the autism spectrum. She loves her cleaning job at the Gulf station owned by VERC Enterprises in Raynham. Abby is a young woman of few words, so her job coach, Kim Higgins helped us ask Abby a few questions:
“What’s your favorite part about working at VERC?” asked Higgins.
“Cleaning the refrigerator,” Abby responded.
She also likes emptying the trash, keeping the glass cases spotless, and making sure the drink labels face the customer.
Abby is a student at the May Center School in Randolph, a non-profit that serves young people with autism and other developmental disabilities.
“Abby’s been working here for about three-and-a-half years. She works two days a week. For Abby, it’s built up her confidence and independence,” Higgins said.
VERC Enterprises is a leader in hiring people with disabilities to work in its 30 convenience stores, gas stations and car washes.
“They’re always happy, they’re always engaged, they do great, they love coming to work,” said Leo Vercollone, who runs the family business. He’s committed to filling 20-percent of his jobs with people with disabilities. “With 360 employees, we’re up to about 75 individuals with intellectual, developmental disabilities,” he said.
“What we’ve found, and what VERC has found, is that our students who come in as employees are reliable, they’re on time, and they’re here to do their job,” said Cheryl White from the May Center School.
“There’s a huge need. That population is under-employed by well over 50-percent,” said Vercollone.
Vercollone will receive the May Institute’s President’s Award for his leadership.
David Wade hosted the ‘Evening Of Hope And Possibility’ for the May Institute