Attorney Susan Fentin “On Board” With Riverside Industries’ Goal: Showing that Developmentally-Disabled Individuals Make Reliable Employees

September 20, 2011
SPRINGFIELD/WORCESTER, MA and WATERBURY, CT – As an employment attorney representing management, Attorney Susan Fentin is well aware of how difficult it can be for an employer to keep turnaround low, especially in entry-level positions. That’s why she was so excited to learn in a recent meeting of the Riverside Industries Board of Directors that individuals placed for employment by Riverside have a very high retention rate when hired by local businesses.

Based in Easthampton, MA, Riverside helps developmentally disabled people discover the kind of work they enjoy and teaches them the skills necessary for finding employment in those areas. Riverside also provides individualized assistance in securing employment, and support that helps new employees meet their employers’ requirements and succeed on the job.

Fentin’s firm, Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., is one of the largest law firms in New England specializing in the practice of labor relations and employment law exclusively for management. As a member of the Riverside Board, Fentin lends her expertise in these areas to Riverside, a non-profit organization that supports people with developmental limitations in their quest to find satisfying jobs, direction in life, and a meaningful place in their community.

Celebrating more than 40 years in business, Riverside has just announced that, among the individuals they have recently placed, there has been nearly 100% employment retention, even in entry level jobs that typically experience high turnover. Workers with developmental disabilities tend to see these jobs as opportunities to demonstrate their abilities, dedication, and sense of responsibility.

“It is extremely rewarding to see people find a place where they can make an effort and be rewarded for it,” said Ms. Fentin. “Riverside provides opportunities and community involvement that might not otherwise be available to those with disabilities. I’m thrilled with the most recent results of all their hard work.”

Riverside works in partnership with the Department of Developmental Services, area schools, local Chambers of Commerce, Career Centers, and many other community resources. The long-standing relationships it has built enable Riverside to provide a broad scope of support services, including the ability to:

Facilitate job matching and procurement
Conduct job-education classes
Provide on-the-job training and supervision
Explore transportation strategies
Coordinate case management
Provide SSI/SSDI benefits counseling
Promote workplace inclusion

“The people Riverside supports add value to area businesses,” said Deb Thomas, MSW, Med, President of Riverside Industries. “They are ready and able employees who take pride in their work!”

Since 1980, Riverside has helped people secure hundreds of jobs and experience a wide range of employment opportunities at local businesses, including American International College, Amherst College, CVS, Chartpak, Pleasant Street Theater, Packaging Corporation of America, Salvation Army, StanHome, Six Flags Amusement Park, Williston-Northampton School, Wykoff Country Club, and the University of Massachusetts, as well as area supermarkets, restaurants, retail businesses and apartment communities.

Fentin has been a member of the Riverside Board for four years, also serves as President of Board of Directors of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and is a member of the Board of The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton.

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