Full Circle

Published in the Monthly Newsletter for SRVS – May 2014

Lisa always wanted to work in an office.

For more than 30 years, Lisa had a job in the workshop of SRVS Industries, the founding program of SRVS (pronounced “serves”). As Tennessee’s largest provider of services for the disabled, SRVS offers comprehensive support systems including: day programs, residences, elder care as well as support for community-based jobs.


In 2014, Lisa shifted from the SRVS Industries workshop into community based employment through a national moment called Employment First. This federal program is dedicated to integrating disabled workers with employees without disabilities. SRVS is among the first service providers in Tennessee to participate in the initiative.


With assistance from SRVS, Lisa successfully landed a job as a general clerk at Medtronic. The job was customized specifically for Lisa to matching her abilities with the unmet needs of the company.

“Lisa is one of the first people with a developmental disability to be hired by Medtronic,” said Charles, Lisa’s supervisor. “She is not afraid to take on any challenge. She is a very eager worker and motivates us all.”


Since joining Medtronic, Lisa has learned how to log into a PC, navigate pages, clock in and out, and assist with preparing conference rooms for luncheon meetings. She is also honing her typing skills and learning how to use a labeling machine to create labels for filing projects.

“My usual day starts with getting a cup of coffee, greeting my co-workers and checking my messages,” said Lisa.

Socializing with her co-workers is important to Lisa gaining acceptance on the job. In the beginning, Lisa said she was a bit bashful in getting to know her co-workers. SRVS’ employment staff coached Lisa to become more comfortable to participate in conversations with co-workers and sit with them at lunch.


“Charles means so much to me,” said Lisa. “He and my job coach, Louis, have given me the chance to work at things I like to do. I love it here.”


Several months into her new job, Lisa joins up with coworkers on a company volunteer project. Medtronic sent her group to help spruce up one of the SRVS residences. The volunteers cleared cleaned out gutters, painted railings, and cleaned debris from the walkways, carport and garage.


By receiving the opportunity for a job in the community, Lisa’s life comes full circle as she gives back to the agency that once supported her.