Eric Baylor was a job-seeker with a developmental disability who needed assistance showcasing his many job skills. Ekus Parts was struggling to find an employee who would thrive in their newest position. They both just needed the opportunity to connect.
Eric is a dedicated, hard worker who, with a little help from SHALOM Denver, is starting to realize his full potential. He has struggled with getting and keeping jobs in the past, so when he came to SHALOM Denver for employment support, that was the focus. He started working in the prevocational program sharpening his work skills and habits. It wasn’t long before he was ready for a position in the community. He got that job and now he’s thriving.
David Rapport owns Ekus Parts, a successful local small business that sells recycled and refurbished automotive parts, including visors, overhead consoles, plastic bezels, dashboard covers, and cargo covers. The company specializes in parts for late-model cars, 10 years old or newer. The majority of Ekus Parts’ business comes from online sales.
David had a problem. Ekus Parts deals in used auto parts that usually come in dirty and grimy and not ready for resale. One of the business’s biggest pain points was getting parts cleaned up. Each part must be meticulously cleaned before it is photographed and uploaded to the company’s website for sale. It’s a mission-critical task that no one on his team liked to do, so it often didn’t get done, creating a bottleneck that was negatively impacting his business.
David was desperate to find someone who could help with the cleaning task. He consulted his wife, who suggested he reach out to SHALOM Denver. He called and was connected to Leah Wing, job developer, who arranged a meeting to assess David’s needs and visit his facility. Once she had a good idea of the job requirements, she went to work trying to find a client with the right skills to be successful and the right personality to enjoy the position. David was surprised when Leah called back in two weeks with a great candidate. “I have the perfect person,” she said. As it turns out, she was right.
When Eric arrived for his interview, he and David instantly clicked, and he was hired on the spot. Eric was offered $11.50 an hour, well above minimum wage. That was five months ago, and David is already talking about increasing his hourly wage to $12.00 an hour.
“Eric is super motivated and is already cleaning more parts than anyone ever has in the past,” says David. “He takes great pride in his work and enjoys tracking the number of parts he can clean in a day. Plus, he’s such a nice guy. He fits into our team well. Everyone enjoys working with him. It’s been a win-win solution.”
David encourages other business owners to consider working with SHALOM Denver and to hire people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “If you’ve got the right position and are willing to work one-on-one to get them trained, it can be a great fit,” he says. “Everyone needs a chance to succeed and this program is giving people with disabilities that chance.”
SHALOM Denver also provides a coach to work with the employees it places to ensure they are meeting the needs of employers and training them on specific work tasks. Eric’s coach, Kristopher Avila, used to visit every two weeks, but Eric’s performance has been so on target that those visits have tapered off.
Eric loves working at Ekus Parts. “Sometimes I just want to cry because I got a job,” says Eric. “I’m part of the team! I love it because the other workers are not just friends, they’re my family. Everyone is so proud of me and it makes me happy.”