Nathan Brown and the Airfield Cafe found the perfect job match

NH adults with disabilities have support to help find jobs that suit them and their employers



Nathan Brown, 37, works as a dishwasher at the Airport Café in North Hampton. Brown found the position through a partnership between New Hampshire Vocational Rehabilitation, Great Bay Services and One Sky Community Services.

Nathan Brown is a 37-year-old man who enjoys listening to music, following the Boston Red Sox, fishing, working out and playing games on X-box.

To support many of these activities, he successfully works two part-time jobs — one as a member of a mobile landscaping crew and the other as a dishwasher at the Airfield Café in North Hampton. He has a proven track record of being dependable and dedicated, and he has a reputation for being a hard worker.

Employment success is important to Nathan because it gives him the opportunity to meet new people while working in the community. It also allows him to work toward his goal of achieving financial independence.

Getting hired for a job did not come easily to Nathan and he needed some assistance. Nathan has been diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, Down Syndrome and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. But he has not allowed these challenges to hold him back from being successful in achieving his goals.

In the past Nathan worked at a variety of jobs but nothing seemed to fit his short-term needs or long-range goals. He struggled with a variety of barriers that were difficult for him and did not have the proper support to overcome them.

New Hampshire Vocational Rehabilitation (NHVR) was contacted when Nathan first expressed his desire to work as a dishwasher. Michael Brown, supervisor of the NHVR’s Portsmouth Regional Office served as Nathan’s vocational rehabilitation counselor. In partnership with NHVR, the employment team at Great Bay Services (GBS) and One Sky Community Services, Nathan led his team to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that provided the supports he needed to accomplish his goal of becoming a dishwasher.

The IPE that Nathan and his team developed included services such as one-on-one job coaching, job development supports and a Job Person Assessment. These services were put in place to ensure that when a potential employer was identified, Nathan would be a perfect fit for the job and the job would be a perfect fit for him.

 Having a game plan in place, GBS reached out to Scott Aversano, owner of the Airfield Café, to set up a job assessment. This gave Nathan an opportunity to try dishwashing and see if he enjoyed it. During this assessment period, Scott and Theresa Aversano were able to see Nathan at work and how he interacted with other members of the team. Nathan enjoyed working as a dishwasher. He kept a good pace and had friendly interactions with his new coworkers.

A few weeks later, Great Bay Services job developer, Lauri Ferguson, reached out to Scott Aversano to discuss future employment plans for Nathan. Scott explained that there was an opening for a dishwasher on Fridays, which is one of the busiest days of the week at the Airfield Café. Nathan went in for an interview and was offered the position the same day.

After Nathan accepted the job offer at the Airfield Café, NHVR authorized Great Bay Services to complete a JPA. The JPA evaluates and identifies any barriers that might prevent Nathan from being successful in his new job.

Areas examined were Nathan’s disabilities, his job duties, and the actual work environment. GBS worked one-on-one with Nathan during his first few shifts and identified a few barriers that needed to be addressed. Nathan was determined to thrive at his new job and worked with his team to develop and implement a plan to overcome these barriers in order to meet his long-term goal of working independently — with little or no supports.

Job coaching was needed less and less as time passed. As the staff got to know Nathan, and vice versa, natural supports (employees helping employees) began to take root and Nathan no longer required his initial onsite support. Great Bay Services continues to communicate with the Airfield Café regarding Nathan’s employment and support needs — both for Nathan and the business — as they come up.

Nathan shows great pride in his work at the Airfield Café. You can tell by his self-confidence that working has had a positive impact on his life.

This job match has been successful not only for Nathan but also for the Airfield Café, NHVR, Great Bay Services and One Sky Community Services.

Jim Hinson is a Supervisor at the state Department of Education, Vocational Rehabilitation. He is responsible for establishing community partnerships with New Hampshire business owners and community leaders to assist in efforts to recruit, hire, retain and promote the hiring of people with disabilities. Jim retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2004 after 21 years; he has two grown sons and lives in Loudon with his wife, Lisa. He can be reached at Jim.Hinson@doe.nh.gov or 271-7093.

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