Congratulations to Megan for interviewing and getting a job at Little Caesars! Prior to this success, Megan approached Barb the PC at Jackson and said she had many interviews and by the end of each, she knew she wasn't getting the job. She wasn't sure what she was doing and what she needed to improve upon. 

For many weeks Barb and the DSPs at Jackson worked with Megan on how to answer interview questions. Through mock interviews they discovered that often Megan talked about personal struggles at home and other details unrelated to the topic asked. The DSPs helped Megan directly answer each question rather than giving too much information. 

Guess What? Megan has been working at Little Caesars since October 2018! The manager personally trained Megan for three weeks on making pizza dough and cleaning dishes. Megan even learned how to close up at night. She now works Friday through Sunday. 

We are thrilled to annouce that she is pursing more days at Little Caesars and has officially moved on from X-Excel. Congratulations Megan!


Congratulations to Bruce in Ashland! Bruce recently went through a trial work placement with Julie, a job coach from OOD. He worked at Beuhler's stocking and straightening shelves for one week. Julie, worked alongside him during his week-long trial. 

Bruce said that he didn't want to lose his paycheck from X-Excel, so he worked from 9a-12p and then worked at Buehler's from 12.45- 4p. These were very long days and by the end, Bruce said he was "very tired." 

Brue said he liked stocking shelves becauce it helped him concentrate and focus. It was a great first step and allowed him the opportunity to try something new. 

When I asked him what the next steps were, Bruce said: "I want to get a job at Beuhler's. I need to go onliine to fill out a job application. My Grandma said she's gonna help me.

Bruce already has his future schedule planned out. Although he loved Beuhler's, he says he wants to remain part-time at X-Excel because "my girlfriend and my friends are here." Bruce said he "wants to get a community job because [he] needs to make more money."


Steve has been volunteering for many years at Local Roots and in the Kitchen at the Croc Center (a community center run by the Salvation Army to help those with the greatest need). Through these experiences, Steve's confidence grew and he became more comfortable. Steve began working with OOD and was pffered a dish washing job at Perkins! Steve said "I wash the dishes, put the clean dishes away, I sweep my area, and use the squeegee to clean the counter. I also take out the trash." 

Steve worked with OOD and has a job coach. She initially worked right next to him, but now he is doing everything independently. She does remain on site if he need anything. 

Steve had job offered from three restaurants. When asked why he chose Perkins, he replied, "Perkins was my favorite. Not only did I like Perkins, I worked there before. They make you feel welcome." 

Steve has learned not only parts of his specific job, but he has learned how to clock in and out when he arrives, goes on break, and leaves for the day. 

Steve said if he could give advice to anyone it would be "if you get a job, keep it and don't quit. Listen to you boss and do your job as best you can." 

Congratulations Steve!


From Brad's SSA: "I love these 1 page updates- Thank you"


Jovan started working with X-Excel in 2016. When he started he kept to himself, slept in the recliner for most of the day, and seemed very disengaged. It took a lot to motivate him to work and participate in activities.

Within the next 2 years, Jovan became more and more successful. Not only was he participating in more, but he was talking and interacting with the people around him. 

In June 2018 Jovan did a trial run at Jackson. Jackson focuses on vocational work. They are constantly working, touring, and learning skills that can encourage independence and prepare them to be successful in a community-based job. Jovan did wonderfully!!

While at Jackson, Jovan loves learning about and riding SARTA, the public bus. They have already taken the bus to get lunch and explore local stores. He is started learning basic computer skills, has volunteered at Stark Fresh and a food pantry, and has learned how to make delicious chocolate.

So what's the biggest difference from 2016 to 2018? Jovan is self-motivated. He now wants to be involved and active.    


Mike started working with X-Excel in October 2013. When Mike first began working with us he and his family expressed frustration on how they felt Mike was not being given opportunities to live up to his potential. He loved staying busy and working with tools but was frustrated with being given jobs he didn't enjoy.

Being a handyman ran in Mike's family and was something that was very important to him and gave him a great sense of pride. A goal was set for Mike to grow his knowledge of tools and have a job he enjoyed doing. Over the years Mike has taken trainings in everything from a sander to a jigsaw. He uses these tools on a daily basis and is known as "the handyman" at the Ashland X-Excel.

His family has shared how for the first time in his life, Mike truly enjoys his job and wants to come to work every day. Mike is a wonderful example of how being encouraged to try what you can do, instead of being told what you can't do, can make all the difference. Great job, Mike!


Renee started working at our Jackson location when it opened in May 2017. One of the goals was to teach people how to use SARTA, the public transportation system in Stark County. Learning how to use public transportation can greatly increase independence. No longer do you need to wait on someone else if you want to go somewhere! Initially, when Renee started she was very hesitant to ride the bus with the group of people. 

As of June 2018, Renee now takes SARTA by herself in the morning and afternoon, to and from X-Excel! This is AMAZING!! 


Jake is a type of person who accomplishes whatever he puts him mind to. Recently he has done some pretty incredible things. Jake practies and teaches Tae Kwon Do at McFeeder's Tae Kwon Do Studios in Alliance. In March 2018, Jake earned his Black Belt!

At X-Excel, Jake does amazing things. He is extremely artistic and will often come up with outstanding ideas. Recently he created a training using Powerpoint, to train his co-workers on how to safely operate and clean the new miter saw. Jake learned how to use Prezi and created visual demonstrations to teach safety procedures for all the other power tools. He will be training everyone who uses a power tool at X-Excel on all the tools!


Robert got a job at Papa Bears in 2016 with the help of a job coach. He washed dishes and cleaned the pizza pans. He also cleaned tables and took out the trash. Robert was doing really well. 

In June 2018 Robert came to talk to our Director. He told her that he was bored. He didn't feel motivated anymore and wasn't excited about working at Papa Bears.

With some help communicating this to his supervisor, Robert began learning how to make pasta! Although this is still a new development, now he is happy again. He loves telling people what he does and always is promoting Papa Bears to anyone who will listen. 

Robert shows that we all need to be challenged in life. We all need to experience and try new things to make life interesting! 


Charley started working in January 2018 at Taz's game center in the Carnation Mall. He worked several hours during the week with a job coach, while still working the other hours during the day at X-Excel. In July 2018, Charley applied and was offered a job at Bob Evans!

Charley has also accomplished another goal of his, moving into his own apartment. This has been something that he has talked about doing for a very long time. 

It's awesome to see success happening for Charley personally and professionally.