Work Opportunities Unlimited has presented its Roger LaChapelle Award to Aaron Stone of Auburn. Stone was selected for the honor in recognition of his excellence in creating quality job placements for agency clients, exemplifying how the world of work changes people’s lives.
Founded upon the principle that all people can work, Work Opportunities Unlimited is a community-based employment service agency that specializes in placing those with disabilities or who experience other barriers to employment in competitive work environments.
As a Career Resource Specialist, Stone spends his days working to break down barriers and open doors of opportunity for people with disabilities. He helps prepare clients for the workplace and supports them while on the job.
“Aaron made 56 placements last year” says Mike Murtha, Director of Work Opportunities in Auburn. “That’s an incredible body of work. His success is centered on his commitment to the people he serves; he makes every client feel that they are the most important person in the world.”
“Aaron could probably make 300 placements a year, if it was just about the numbers,” Murtha continued. “But it’s not. His approach is personalized. He figures out the goals and aspirations of each client and then goes through exhaustive efforts to make a good match, to make work happen for the individual.”
Stone’s efforts have included placing a young man who is so painfully shy and withdrawn that he had never held a job as a now full-time welder at Bath Iron Works, where “he is comfortable behind the mask,” to finding a job for a young Somali refugee, now American citizen, who is deaf.
“I believe that all people can work and that work is a human right,” said Stone. “Everyone should be able to access competitive employment. If people are asking for help to make that happen, they should get the help they deserve, and they should get my best. It’s as simple as that.”
“Employers are critical to our mission of community-based employment,” says Murtha. “Aaron does an incredible job of fostering reciprocal relationships and, as a result, businesses love to help him. Consequently, they seek us out as a hiring resource in the Lewiston-Auburn area and beyond. Aaron does everything so well, and he’s a darn nice guy. This award couldn’t go to a more deserving person.”
With operations throughout the eastern United States, Work Opportunities Unlimited is a community-based employment service provider specializing in placing job seekers who experience barriers to employment. The company serves thousands of adults and students annually. In addition to private citizens, WOU serves individuals referred by school districts, vocational rehabilitation programs, development disability agencies, the Departments of Mental Health, Transitional Assistance, and Children and Families, and the U.S. Social Security Administration through its Ticket to Work program. For more information, see www.workopportunities.net.