Ashley Williams has the Sweetest Job

Ashley Williams has a sweet job at Kilwins in Jacksonville

Since I started working with Ashley, I have added on responsibilities, and she has accomplished them each time,” says Alena, Ashley’s supervisor.

Employment is sweet for Ashley Williams. She hand rolls, weighs, and packages caramels at Kilwins in Jacksonville as the candy store’s caramel chew packager — and she does it well. “Ashley has excelled in her duties at our store,” says her supervisor, Alena Tarpley.

Working with candy wasn’t always her career goal. Before her job at Kilwins, Ashley, who has Asperger’s syndrome and a learning disability, had primarily worked in an office setting. With the assistance of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) , a federal-state agency that helps people with disabilities get or keep jobs, she’d previously found a position as a file clerk at a law firm. When that job was no longer available, she turned to VR for help finding work once again.

Ashley met with her VR Counselor, Kelly Harbert, to create a plan to get back to work. Though Ashley wanted to work in an office environment, Kelly encouraged her to expand her job search to incorporate a variety of options. “She loved the office job she had before, so she wanted to work in a similar setting, but I encouraged her to open up to other possibilities,” Kelly explains.

Kelly also referred Ashley to ARC of Jacksonville for job placement services. Ashley’s job coach at ARC of Jacksonville, Christine Thomas, agreed that she should apply for positions in a variety of fields. Ashley took their advice and eagerly began searching for jobs. “She was so determined to work that she would call me with job leads,” says Kelly.

Ashley soon found a job posting that…

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