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Local organization helps people with disabilities find jobs

A local agency is helping people with developmental disabilities find their perfect career.

SPOKANE, Wash.-- It is not always easy finding a good job that will allow you to support yourself or your family, but it can be even more difficult for those with disabilities.

A local agency is helping people with developmental disabilities find their perfect career.

Jessica Hansen has been working as a "cleaning queen" at Spokane Gymnastics for about a month.

Her duties involve vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms and making sure the facility stays tidy. Before this, she was unemployed for six months.

She wanted a job, but Hansen has a learning disability which made the search even more difficult.

According to the United States Department of labor, Hansen was part of the nearly 80 percent of people with disabilities that are of working age, without a job.

In Spokane County, around 400 people with developmental disabilities are currently looking for jobs according to HireAbility Spokane.

The Arc reports that "the majority of adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities are either unemployed or underemployed, despite their ability, desire and willingness to work."

Despite the reports, Hansen said that she is more than willing to work.

"It's actually a fun environment, I like the little kids and seeing how they do with the gymnastics," said Hansen. "Meeting new people and see how I try to fit into this environment."

HireAbility Spokane works with job seekers with developmental disabilities and businesses to match these individuals with positions that businesses are hoping to fill.

"When the individuals that we work with get the job, they are super excited and they are looking forward to their future," said Charly Walters with HireAbility Spokane.

This is how Hansen got the job and the man who hired her could not be happier.

"We ended up with the perfect employee in Jessica and the pride that she shows in her work is exactly what we hope to find," said Jim Marlow, floor manager at Spokane Gymnastics.

"Try to work with people with mental disabilities and try to understand them and see where they are coming from," Hansen said.

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