AHRC New York City’s Employment and Business Services (EBS,) trains people with developmental disabilities to succeed in careers of their choosing. Through its Careers in Janitorial Services training program, the department prepares people for a career through classroom training and hands-on experience in a professional janitorial environment. The training program is available to people ages 18 to 21 with a developmental disability and those without a disability who meet income guidelines.

Kadijah BadiakaArmando ReyesLexis Henton, Dalia Gibbs, and Dayshawn Arnold were trained in a classroom for 7 weeks as a part of the program, and are now working at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Queens, participating in a hands-on training portion of the program, which will last for 7 or 8 weeks.

The job keeps me motivated because I like my job and I’m good at cleaning,” says Dayshawn as he organizes the hospital’s storage room. “I clean at home for myself so I might as well clean for people that really need the help.

As they train, the workers receive guidance from both AHRC NYC staff and the staff of the hospital. Kenneth Bang is the hospital’s Director of Environmental Services. Along with Phuntsok DechenBasic Skills Instructor for the Careers program, Kenneth contributes to the success of each trainee, providing guidance and instruction throughout the day.

I love having them here,” says Kenneth. “They’re like my kids.” Kenneth explains that currently, there are 4 permanent staff members on the janitorial team and 6 people who recently began training. With assistance from EBS staff members, Martha Nieves Senior Corporate Account Developer, and Sonia NievesProgram Supervisor, Kadijah, Armando, Lexis, Dalia, and Dayshawn learn how various areas of the hospital must be maintained.

Martha and Sonia have been very supportive,” says Kenneth. “We have had great success with this program and have come a long way from where we started. This program has been quite the experience and I have had a blast.”

At the end of the program, AHRC NYC assists the trainees in finding a job. The Janitorial Services program has made a big difference in the trainees’ lives. They have gained pride from their accomplishments, and they have learned valuable skills that will help them to find work in the future.