Kaleidoscope Supported Employment is Transforming Lives in Walker County

Learn more about Kaleidoscope

Gary Moore works Monday through Friday, cleaning bathrooms and break areas at Roper Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of GE Appliances, a Haier Company.

Gary loves his job with I H Services and he’s liked by his co-workers, who bring him cake on special occasions and check on him when he’s sick.  “I’ve got a bunch of friends, they all miss me when I’m not here,” said Moore. “When I was out, they all sent me $360.”

You wouldn’t know it by his job performance, but Gary has a disability.  “We have about 40 others in our program who are out there working in the community, living full, rich lives feeling that they are contributing to their world,” explained Rebecca Clark, Supported Employment Coordinator for Kaleidoscope, a program of Lookout Mountain Community Services.  Clark works with area employers to educate them on how hiring someone with a disability not only benefits the community, but also makes business sense.

“Many times in the past, people with disabilities were thought to be unable to hold jobs and when given the opportunity, we see they can make very important and valuable contributions to the workplace,” said Clark.

As Gary’s supervisor, Ciara Norman knows that first hand. “He seasoned, of course he knows the routes and the ways way better than anybody else, but he knows how to interact with everyone here a little better.”

Kaleidoscope provides support along the way to clients and employers too.  Everyone in the program has a job coach who works to match the job seeker’s abilities and interests with potential positions. Once hired, Kaleidoscope assists with pre-employment paperwork, provides training and coaching on job responsibilities, and helps both parties understand the impact of changes at work, like new duties or a supervisor switch.

Darlene Cannon, Job Coach, said “To help make that transition to where they are able to communicate together so she knows how Gary works and why he does his job the way he does his job.”

Gary has been on the job for nearly 18 years… and says he’d be bored if he wasn’t working. “I enjoy it, because I’m used to doing it at home.”

For more information on becoming a client or business partner, contact Kaleidoscope at 706-375-2142.

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How Walker Works – Development Authority

Since the 1960’s, the Walker County Development Authority has worked to recruit and retain business and industry in our community.  Robert Wardlaw, Economic & Community Development Director sums it up like this, “We turn dirt into jobs, that is our mission… and jobs help families.”

The Development Authority consists of six members: one from LaFayette, one from Chickamauga, one from Rossville, one from the county and two at-large members.  While represented by the cities and county, the authority operates independently, as established by the state of Georgia.

Serving as the first point of contact, the Development Authority connects a prospective industry with available buildings and land, workforce data, permitting agencies and other community information.  “Property that would be owned by the Development Authority would certainly be marketable to prospective new businesses and also private landowners would contact us and ask us to put their property that would be suitable for industrial development into our database/inventory of available property,” explained Wardlaw.

The Development Authority is also the only entity in Walker County that can offer incentives, such as tax abatements, bond financing or free land, among other considerations.  Wardlaw said, “All of these things are carefully weighed to their appropriateness through what value is the prospective industry going to bring to the citizens of the county.”

The Development Authority holds public meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. at the Walker County Civic Center.

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Commissioner Whitfield Responds to Lawsuit to Discourage Job Creation in Walker County

Walker County was served today with a lawsuit from a group of citizens demanding county officials stop talking to companies interested in locating in our community. This lawsuit is designed to prevent the county’s ability to attract great paying jobs and generate new tax revenue to benefit all of our citizens.

Although this lawsuit makes reference to one specific company, if successful, it will set a precedent for all future attempts to attract industry. Walker County would be hamstrung and unable to compete on the same playing field with other communities, if even given the opportunity.

Read the documents here:

Also, please take a moment to watch Commissioner’s Whitfield’s response.

Walker, Dade & Chattooga Counties Host Job Fair

People searching for jobs

Rock Spring, GA – An employment expansion appears to be taking place in Walker and surrounding counties. Dozens of companies need to fill more than 800 positions collectively in the coming weeks.

To help area employers meet their workforce demands, Walker, Dade and Chattooga Counties will co-sponsor a Job Fair on Thursday, May 11th from 3:00pm to 7:00pm at the Walker County Civic Center, 10052 Highway 27 in Rock Spring. The Georgia Department of Labor and the Chambers of Commerce from all three counties will serve as co-sponsors, as well.

Roughly 30 companies have committed to share information at this event about positions they have available right now. Coca-Cola, Roper Corporation, Mohawk, Shaw, Komatsu, Hayes State Prison, Walker State Prison, Vanguard Trailers and others have jobs ready to be filled.

Full-time and seasonal employment options are available in construction, customer service, home healthcare, manufacturing, security, tourism and other fields.

Job seekers should visit employgeorgia.com prior to arriving at the Job Fair. Filling out the job history survey online will grant you access to a Fast Pass at the Job Fair which will expedite the process of speaking to your next potential employer. The Georgia Department of Labor will have a van with nine computers available to register applicants on site with Employ Georgia.

This Job Fair is open to all area job seekers. You do not have to be a Georgia resident to attend. Job seekers should come appropriately dressed, resumes in hand and have an elevator pitch prepared. Some companies may conduct interviews during this employment event.