BUFFALO, NY – Picking up empty boxes, wiping glass cases and sweeping the floors at Price Rite in Amherst keep Kevin Nowak busy three days a week.
“When it comes to work, he’s always smiling and helping anyone who needs it, even when he’s doing his job,” said Shannon Panepento, a recruitment specialist at People, Inc. “He’ll do anything and moreover, to help another customer. “
July is Disability Pride Month, which celebrates the day the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect, which ensures that people with disabilities are not legally discriminated against in public life, including transportation, education, and work .
“Some [customers], they always tell me: You’re doing a great job, “said Nowak. “You feel good with it. Even if you know that you are fine. “
Due to the ongoing wage crisis faced by caregivers, it can be difficult to fill positions that will help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities manage their daily lives. Panepento has been in the recruiting industry for over 15 years and said she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“As for the personnel crisis, once you get into this field, it changes your life forever,” she said. “And money, as I tell everyone, money comes and goes, but smiles are priceless.”