Lightening The Load

shared courtesy of Penn-Mar Human Services

Michael Blashock on the job at Normandie Ridge, the Continuous Care Retirement Community in York, Pa.


YORK, Pennsylvania – Normandie Ridge, the Continuous Care Retirement Community in York, Pa., didn’t have a dedicated dishwasher until two years ago, when York native Michael Blashock took on the job.

As Normandie Ridge Food Service Director Chris Rhoades put it, dining services staff would routinely step in to wash dishes, and although they still do when Michael isn’t on the scene, his customized role has taken a lot of the burden off coworkers during the busiest and most crucial hours in the kitchen, which prepares three meals a day, every day for more than 300 residents.

The Cold Call

Michael, 35, receives residential services through Life’s New Beginning, a York-based human services provider founded four years ago. He has held various jobs over the years starting while he was a student at Eastern York High School. In the years before landing his job at Normandie Ridge he worked at York College, and Gabe’s, where he was in charge of maintenance and clean up. He applied to Penn-Mar’s Customized Employment Program in early 2017, and given his prior work experience breezed through the program’s Exploration & Discovery process. It was at that time that Penn-Mar Career Counselor Patty Trexler made the fateful cold call to Normandie Ridge and set up an appointment to meet with the then HR Director.

“Normandie Ridge was very interested in learning about an opportunity to customize positions and get involved in the community,” said Patty. “They were very open to and very supportive of hiring people with disabilities and went to great lengths to create several job opportunities. They’ve been so great to work with.”

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