Local News

Johnston County bakery creates jobs, opportunities for people with disabilities

Posted November 15, 2017 6:31 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 2:06 p.m. EDT

— It can be tough for a person with a disability to find a job, but one local business is on a mission to provide opportunities for employees with special challenges.

The Clayton Bakery and Cafe has teamed up with Johnston County Industries for the past ten years to create jobs for people who want to work.

"We don't necessarily know what their challenges are and we may never know," said Rich Girardm who owns the bakery. "We just treat them as if they are like anybody else on the team."

Emily Kelly, who will turn 29 next week, is a popular employee of the bakery. She is in charge of delivering the food to the tables and folding boxes for outgoing lunch orders.

She works with a job coach who helps her to stay on task and is there to answer questions if needed.

Johnston County bakery creates jobs, opportunities for people with disabilities

"I'm glad to see her thriving and doing so well she doesn't have to call on me often," said Diane McMillan, Emily's job coach.

Hernan Cortez washes dishes at the bakery and has been doing the job for about a year.

"I like the people and the people who come here," he said.

Marque Eason is another employee with his own set of challenges.

He hasn't been able to find work since an accident four years ago which left him with severe damage to the left side of his body making it hard for him to move.

He and his physical therapist developed a hand brace so he is able to mop the floor on his own.

"I like to push myself," he said. "It feels good"​

And that's why Girard has continued this partnership for a decade.

"I get emotional because I see the growth," he said. "If I am a part of that, you know, that's a good purpose."