Sanding Her Way to Success
“I love my job because I’m good at it.”
That simple statement sums up how woodworker Jade Craft feels about her part-time job at Rockledge Farm Woodworks, the furniture crafts shop that’s idyllically situated on a 200-year-old hill farm, in the pastoral community of Reading, Vermont.
As a participant in Lincoln Street Inc.’s successful Employment Program, Jade, a native of Springfield, Vermont, says she feels fortunate to have been able to find a job that’s been so meaningful to her.
Rockledge Farm is owned and operated by Scott and Kathleen Duffy. Their six-person shop creates one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and accessories crafted from a variety of native Vermont woods.
Some years ago, the couple contacted Lincoln Street Inc. about arranging for part-time workers. Consulting with Jarrod James, LSI’s Employment Services Director, Scott and Kathleen were able to hire two of the people Jarrod nominated for the positions.
“My wife and I were long ago trained as home providers, and we had worked with other state and private agencies in the past,” Scott explains. “We always felt that we could offer more than a meal and room for people, though, so we consciously reached out to Lincoln Street to see what we could do.”
The LSI Employment Program personifies the LSI mission, which is to support people with intellectual disabilities, helping them reach their full potential as valued, contributing members of their communities.
Two days a week, Jade shares a ride from her home in Springfield, Vermont, with one of her fellow Rockledge employees for a six-hour shift that she says “goes by real fast.”
Jade says she learned her trade on the job from her boss, Scott. “I do some cutting and other things, but mostly sanding,” she says. “I love sanding. I’m great at it.”
Scott and Kathleen call the arrangement a mutual success. “I think it’s worked out very well—it’s a good match for what we need and, I hope, what these workers need,” Scott notes. “It hasn’t been without challenges, but we’ve continued to support the program and these workers.”
He adds: “We’re not a non-profit—we’re a small business, so any arrangement like this has to work for us from a business perspective. But I very much identify with our ability to put something into their lives that’s meaningful and positive.”
As for Jade, her enthusiasm for her job has only grown over the two-plus years she’s been employed at Rockledge. “I see myself working here for a long time,” she says. “And I hope I can even work more hours!” she adds, in what might be a gentle pitch to her boss.