Arc celebrates 30 years of matching clients to jobs

Staff Writer

TINTON FALLS — For 30 years, the Arc of Monmouth County’s Employment Services has helped individuals with disabilities to find gainful employment.

Thea Strong, the director of employment services, said the organization recently eclipsed the anniversary in October and formally celebrated the achievement earlier this month.

She said over the course of 30 years, the 200 clients regularly served have benefited greatly.

“We assist adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities in finding and gaining employment and then maintaining employment,” Strong said. “The issue truly is finding the perfect job match for these individuals so they can be independently employed in the community.

“We have a support in place through our job coaches to help them with that.”

Strong said one of the main goals of the center is to match the job and the individual.

“It all comes down to what you would like,” Strong said.

“Would you like to work in an office, would you like to work in retail, would you like to work in food services, would you like to work in a hotel, and that is how we find the jobs that match their abilities and skills.”

Strong said the main components of the employment center are identifying job matches for clients and assisting with job training in an effort to increase the chance of success.

She said there is also a follow-up portion of the work done at the employment center.

“The main component truly is to find the perfect job match,” Strong said.

“The problems that they sometimes have because of their disabilities, could be changes in the workplace or co-workers who have some conflicts or a difference in job descriptions. That’s when we step back in.”

She also said some clients completely graduate from the program.

“The follow-up is we assess and see how independent they become,” Strong said. “Some people completely graduate from the program because they have been so well integrated and so well accepted in their jobs.

“Most of the people benefit from us being there in case there is a bump in the road.”

The Arc’s Employment Center currently operates out of the Freehold Raceway Mall, with a second location in Red Bank.

Strong said recently Meridian Health and the United Way of Monmouth County have also occupied space at the mall, and the three organizations are working collaboratively in providing services.

Strong also said the employment services center will continue to help the individuals in the program.

“These people really make an enormous impact and a lot of employers are starting to see the benefits,” she said. “We are very proud of the people who have made it such a success.”

In 1985, The Arc of Monmouth received a grant to pilot a revolutionary project that would help people with disabilities find work in the community.

The Arc of Monmouth is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, annually serving more than 1,400 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through education, vocational training, residential services, behavioral healthcare, supported employment, recreation, individual and family supports, self-directed services and advocacy.

To learn more, please call (732) 493- 1919 or visit