Job at Wahoo's helps worker with developmental disabilities be independent

Posted at 6:56 AM, Oct 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-08 08:56:17-04

For eight years, Jennifer Knitter has been helping customers at the Wahoo’s on South Union in Lakewood.

In that time, she’s learned to love the customers as much as they love her.

“They’re always friendly, always kind and always respectful,” she told Denver7 contributor Connor Long.

“Jennifer is incredible,” said Kasey Willis, the marketing director for Wahoo’s. “She helps our business by providing excellent service and talking to everyone and making them feel welcome and at home.”

Jefferson County’s Developmental Disabilities Resource Center (DDRC) helped Jennifer find the perfect job. The DDRC helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to participate fully in the community through a number of programs.

“Just helping the community and having good people like Jennifer just makes us stronger and makes us a better company and we're very lucky to have her.” Willis added.

For the DDRC, it’s not so much about helping employers find the right workers as much as it’s about helping workers find the right job.

“We don't want charity, we want it done for the right reason so it's a win/win thing,” said the DDRC’s Ron Marquez.

While Ron says not all the matches they make work right off the bat, sometimes they hit it out of the ballpark.

“We had one man who worked for the Rockies. He still works for the Rockies and he got his 20 year pin,” Marquez added.

Jennifer doesn’t know if she will be working at Wahoo’s for 20 years, but chances are, she will be working.

”I feel really good because it makes me feel important when I'm working,” she said. ”My favorite part about work is coming in and being happy and getting paychecks.”