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Nestled in the heart of Lake Oswego, Alex diligently fulfills his duties as a courtesy clerk at Zupan’s Markets, contributing to his personal development and championing the cause of inclusive employment on a larger scale.

Zupan’s distinguishes itself through its steadfast commitment to inclusive hiring practices. Leveraging the assistance of Albertina Kerr’s Supported Employment Services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), Zupan’s has supported employees coached by Kerr at all three of its locations: MacAdam Avenue, Burnside Downtown, and Lake Oswego.

Since August 2023, Alex has been an integral part of Zupan’s team. He deftly balances his work responsibilities with his studies at Portland Community College (PCC), where he is pursuing a degree in computer-assisted directing, drafting, and design.

Amaliya Nikorak, Zupan’s store director and Alex’s supervisor, tailored a set of job tasks to align with Alex’s aspirations, fostering an environment conducive to his learning and growth. Seeking to enhance his communication skills in a public setting and cultivate robust work habits for his future endeavors, Alex found unwavering support and guidance from Amaliya.

In 2023, Amaliya, representing Zupan’s, was honored with the APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First) Community Employer Award. This prestigious accolade celebrates businesses that prioritize and exemplify the significance of an inclusive workforce by actively employing individuals with disabilities.

The APSE committee lauded Amaliya as an exemplary leader, recognizing her exceptional hiring practices as a source of inspiration. Through her unwavering dedication to inclusive employment, Amaliya has set a new benchmark within Zupan’s and made a profound impact on the broader community.

Alex’s journey underscores the transformative power of inclusive employment. Zupan’s Markets transcends its role as a mere shopping destination; it serves as a beacon of inclusivity, dismantling barriers and paving the way toward a more equitable future.

With a person-centered approach, Kerr’s Supported Employment Services offers a range of services for job seekers with I/DD and community employers. We provide ongoing support to ensure positive results. For more information, please email us at [email protected].

Pictured in top photo: Alex (left) and Zupan’s Markets Store Director Amaliya Nikorak (right).
Pictured in photos on right: Amaliya (left) and Alex (right).