He likes Marvel, Muppets and making things.
And, as it turns out, he’s pretty good at making things — like the protective foam packaging that keeps your online purchases safe during delivery.
After roughly nine months of job hunting, Connor Reynolds has landed a job with the help of ADEC and is considered a rock star by his coworkers and supervisors.
Connor Reynolds has developed a great reputation at Engineered Foam Plastics, more commonly known as EFP, since he started there in March with the help of his job coach, Monica Davis.
As a job coach, Davis helped assess Reynolds’ strengths and look for a workplace that would benefit from them. Once he got his job with EFP, Davis frequently checked in with him to see how he was doing, if he was doing the job well and if the job was right for him.
He’s reached the point where Davis rarely needs to stop by anymore.
“I started backing up as I started seeing he was more social, the eye contact was happening, he jokes around with people,” Davis said. “It’s amazing how much he has grown in this job, not just his job skills but his social skills are amazing now.”
EFP is Reynolds’ first job. During high school at Elkhart Central, he wanted to make sure he kept his grades up and didn’t want interference from a job. Transitioning from school to work wasn’t difficult for him, he said it was like shifting one gear to another.
The first stage of Reynolds working with his job coach was the discovery process, where ADEC staff determine what a client likes to do and for what job they might be best suited. Then, staff will test out the client in the job to see if it’s a good fit. That’s where EFP got involved.
When EFP was recently looking to hire new employees, one of the places it turned was ADEC. Together, ADEC Community Employment Manager Sara Howard and EFP’s London Martinez worked to create a process to help individuals at ADEC get employed with EFP. It turns out, Reynolds was a perfect fit.
Since he started with EFP in March, he’s shown rapid growth. At first, Davis showed up frequently to check on Reynolds, just to make sure he was doing well. As he became more independent, the trips became fewer and further between.
Davis said that when she first began working with Reynolds he would keep his head down and not be social with others, but since working at EFP he’s blossomed.
“Sometimes I like to just be by myself because I just feel like I want to be alone,” Reynolds said. “But a lot of times I like to talk to people.”
Now, Reynolds has moved into the stabilization process of the ADEC program. Davis checks in with him every couple of weeks — for a total 90 days — and, if everything goes smoothly, Reynolds will exit the program and have full independence.
“It was different at first, it started out where Monica would come over and always be watching me,” Reynolds said. “Then she left, and I felt like: ‘I think I can handle my own now.’”
Davis said she feels confident that Reynolds — who now works 32 hours each week — will get through the stabilization process easily, but ADEC will be there for him if he needs more help.
“If something does happen we can take him out and keep supporting him,” she said. “But he’s doing such a phenomenal job.”
When EFP Director of Human Resources Randy Jackson met with John Poindexter, the owner of EFP and several other businesses, he said the relationship between ADEC and EFP shined bright.
“The ADEC program was something that was unique to Elkhart and EFP [that we talked about], and it was a little bit of an ‘Ah ha’ moment for John,” Jackson said. “Rest assured he’s going around to those other business and saying: ‘You need to look at Elkhart and see what they’re doing with ADEC.’”
In all, EFP employees three ADEC employees and is looking for more who are seeking employment.
Reynolds said he isn’t sure how long he’ll work at EFP, but he enjoys the work and sees a future with the company.
“I dunno,” he said. “I’ll probably be here the rest of my life.”