Greenwood, SC

DDSN Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Jonta Hackett

PJ@DisabilityNews

(Sponsored Content) DDSN is featuring employment success stories during October National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Greenwood, South Carolina - Some years ago, Jonta Hackett worked with the Burton Center, a regional disabilities and special needs organization, on a contract with the Real Estate Solutions (R.E.S.) Pallet Company in Greenwood, South Carolina. The company approached the Burton Center about renting their warehouse to use as a pallet shop. The Burton Center agreed with the understanding that if there were any possibilities to gain real work experience, that they would give individuals that were supported, the opportunity. R.E.S. Pallet Company provided several job experiences in their shop. Some workers scrapped and shaved off bark, some stamped identification markers on the wood, and a few learned to use a nail gun to assembly pallets. Jonta caught on quickly and learned how to build the pallets.

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Jonta Hackett, Employee at R.E.S. Pallet CompanyCourtesy of Jonta Hackett

The working relationship between the Burton Center and R.E.S. Pallet Company went on for several years but in late 2016, the company began to outgrow the space. This required a move to another location in 2017. As to be expected, not everyone was interested in pursuing a career in pallet assembly. However, Jonta was very interested in the work and with the assistance of Joel Smart, Employment Specialist with the Burton Center, he transitioned to a fulltime R.E.S. employee. He holds the most seniority for a pallet assembly employee.

Jonta demonstrates great pride in his work. He has mastered all the pallet patterns as each pallet has specific requirements with distinct dimensions. He assembles, labels, stacks, and organizes pallets to meet each specific company’s order.

His manager says he extremely dependable and easy going. Everyone likes him and they wish everyone they hired had the same commitment to quality and consistency to their work.

Jonta’s advice to anyone wanting their own income and freedom is to get a job and do it well. He loves his work, and it has led to earning his own money and more independence.

About the Burton Center

The Burton Center was created over four decades ago to provide free services to individuals and their families who have disabilities and special needs. Ranging from Adult Day Programs to Residential Programs, and Supervised Living Programs – their services help these families discover opportunities to mature, grow, and reach their full potential. They believe that everyone should live a life full of dignity, respect, and love. Their services and programs help promote self-discovery and a greater level of independence. For more information about the Burton Center programs, visit https://www.burtoncenter.org/.

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I am a journalist with 30+ years of experience working in the fields of natural resources, non-profit, education, research and disabilities and special needs. I will be reporting about the events that affect the disabled and special needs community.

Columbia, SC
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