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Meghan Donovan

Alpha Crew Member Finds Her Individualized Skill Set in Retail Merchandising

By Rae van Seenus on Oct 14, 2019 at 01:19 AM in UCP WORK, Inc. Blog

Edna Lagunas is a Retail Associate at Alpha Thrift on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara, California, as part of UCP WORK, Inc’s integrated Group Supported Employment Program.  She and two individuals hired through the support of UCP WORK, Inc., work at the store by sorting, stocking, and organizing donated items that are brought in by customers dropping off at the donation drop-off near the loading dock.  Edna works twice a week, preferably in the upstairs area of the store by organizing the children’s clothes and adult shoes, making sure all items are sorted by color, and merchandised neatly.  Besides one recent cold, Edna has earned perfect attendance over the 18 months since hired at Alpha.  She started in their Goleta location and then transferred to the Milpas store. 

According to UCP WORK, Inc. Job Coach, Theo Ressler, “Edna and the other participants take pride in their work and they are always on time. Alpha’s management acknowledged those strengths and were happy to bring Edna on board from the Goleta location.” Theo’s responsibilities are to support each crew member in completing their duties, he said.  He also helps to determine their daily projects, oversees employee work areas, and sets both short and long-term goals.

The benefits for employers, like Alpha, in partnering with UCP WORK, Inc.’s Employment Services, is that the agency handles all job training, coaching, and worker’s comp. “It’s a win win…The business saves money and gains valuable, skilled employees that have the reputation of staying in their jobs for a long time,” stated Judy Linares, UCP WORK, Inc. Director of Program Services.  Additionally, Judy shared that the employees in the program, especially at Alpha, have found their individualized strengths working in specialized areas of the store.  For example, Edna is strong in color coordination, cleanliness, and merchandising.  A co-worker of her’s is handy at fixing broken parts and equipment. These attributes have complimented the participants’ sense of working as a team and their social skills.

Before working at Alpha, Edna was employed at Sundial Arts, the former art studio location of UCP WORK, Inc., where she was part of their janitorial maintenance crew. Studio Manager, Jacob Allio, shared, “Edna always had a good attitude, smile on her face, and enjoyed her time in the studio. She always came and talked to me at the end of the day and told me everything she had cleaned.” Because of her continued commitment to her work, pride in helping others, and punctuality, Edna was recently awarded a UCP WORK, Inc. “Certificate of Job Excellence”. Congratulations Edna Lagunas!

Alpha Crew Member Finds Her Individualized Strength in Retail Merchandising
Alpha Crew Member Finds Her Individualized Strength in Retail Merchandising
Alpha Crew Member Finds Her Individualized Strength in Retail Merchandising