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Job opportunities for community: 'Just because we're disabled doesn't mean a single thing'

Josh says he loves being able to bring people joy through his work at Wahooz. He says he's never let his disability limit his dreams. (Lauren Clark KBOI).

At the Wahooz Fun Zone, Joshua Kemper-Roberts steers everyone to safety, every time they get into these bumper boats.

"I make sure that they are obeying all the safety rules: not splashing people in the golf course, but mostly to make sure that they're ok," he said.

But while he's hard at work as the ride operator, it's hard to find Josh without a smile. Often, he's having more fun than the kids on the ride.

"Just to see the look on their faces," said Kemper-Roberts. " It's like I'm bringing joy into their life."

It brings joy into his life too. Josh has a disability, which can make working at a job difficult. But he's refused to let it limit his dreams.

"Just because we're disabled doesn't mean a single thing," he said. "We can still do what everyone else does."

Josh is one of many members in our community: those who face barriers everyday, who are told they can't do what others around them can. But despite all these challenges, they still want to tgo to work.

Michael Ogden works for Community Connections, a group that matches these individuals to employers. And when it comes to the jobs available, he says opportunities are as diverse as the clients applying for them.

"There's an untapped market of individuals eager to work, ready to work, and ready to learn the necessary skill sets ready to work within their organization," he said.

And when it comes to where a client wants to work--he says the sky is the limit. Ogden says CCI has worked in the education sector, small businesses, large businesses in addition to the automotive and delivering industries to name a few.

Ogden urges employers not to overlook those with disabilities. While some will learn at a different pace, hey says many become an invaluable team member in the work place.

"They are very loyal, they are very dedicated," said Ogden. "A lot of the times when you are working with these individuals they are trying to explain that they aren't looking for their next job--they are looking for their forever job. One they are going to be happy in, and grow in, where they have that stability."

A stability that Josh says he cherishes at Wahooz. With the help of a CCI job coach, he;s learned to be more focused, and less anxious while he's here. Through his time at work, Josh says he's gained confidence.

And when he puts his badge on every morning, he's doing it with purpose. You see, Josh isn't just doing a job; he's building independence for a better life. Because despite the obstacles and challenges, those with disabilities need something all of us do: a chance.

"We learn more from them, then they learn from us," said Ogden. "We learn what it is to preserve, what it is to look in the eyes of discouragement and say...I can do this, and I will be able to do this."

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