A joint program between Do-All Inc. and the United Way of Bay County helps expand the workforce

There aren’t words to describe the profound satisfaction of watching a person blossom with achievement, beyond what he or she thought possible. For 47 years, Do-All Inc. employees have witnessed that moment over and over again as they help Bay County people with varying ranges of abilities find jobs.

The Do-All motto, ''People Helping People Succeed,'' is at the heart of the non-profit organization dedicated to providing employment, training, community, and supported employment opportunities for people with developmental and other disabilities.

Do-All partners with the United Way of Bay County. During 2023, Route Bay City is running a United For Good series that that highlights programs the United Way supports throughout the county.

Do-All consumer Stephen Bauer exemplifies the Do-All mission.

After graduating from Bay City Central High School in 2015, Bauer found himself bouncing between agencies for three years.

Stephen Bauer looked for a job for three years before enlisting the help of Do-All Inc. Today, he's a proud employee of McDonald's.“For three years, I was looking for mostly restaurants. Three years before Do-All! Nothing came out of it,” Bauer says.

His self-confidence waned, but Bauer didn’t give up. In July 2021, he came to Do-All Inc. just wanting an opportunity to prove his willingness to work.

A few months later, Bauer had interviewed several different places and settled in with a job at McDonald’s in Essexville. Today, he still works there.

“I love McDonald’s,” says Bauer. “People are nice to me here. I like everybody here and the jobs. I started here in October of 2021. Do-All got me there.”

A Job Development Specialist from Do-All Inc. helps people with everything involved in landing a job. Specialists guide consumers through the application and interview process. For Stephen Bauer, the Specialist also suggested additional training.Throughout the process, from applying and interviewing at several different businesses to the day he got a job offer from McDonald’s, Bauer relied on his Job Development Specialist for support and guidance. The two talked and texted regularly as Bauer faced self-confidence issues while navigating the job market.

Autistic with Aspergers, Bauer relied on his Job Development Specialist to help fill out applications, vouch for him to potential employers, lift his spirits so he could believe in himself, and even go with him to interviews.

While he was looking for a job, Bauer decided to pursue a little more schooling.

“I went to a program called Living and Learning Center for a year and Post Secondary for two years and I left in 2018 with certificates,” Bauer says, giving credit to Do-All for supporting him as he determined what he needed to do to land a job. The programs Bauer attended are part of the Bay-Arenac ISD.

“Do-All did more (for me). They talked to me every day, kept me going on my toes. They got me in there right away. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, they never gave up on me.”

Do-All Vice President Julie Barcia says that the partnership with United Way is priceless for people such as Bauer.

“We have the Busting Barriers Grant through United Way, which allows individuals in the community facing employment barriers financial assistance,” she says.

“It helps both with gathering materials to be successful when seeking employment or working in the community. The grant can help with such things as costs of transportation, interview clothing, haircuts, job equipment such as non-slip shoes or bus passes.”

Stephen Bauer says that between working at McDonald's, volunteering for Bay County TV, and attending local musical events, he stays busy and happy.Barcia notes that Do-All President Emilia Gutierrez attends quarterly meetings with United Way. She adds that the partnership allows the two organizations to grow into the community together.

“Our employment services program is a zero-exclusion program, so that all individuals that are interested in obtaining employment, regardless of their background, education status, legal involvement, mental health concerns or disability, are all eligible. They meet with a Job Development Specialist at least once a week for an hour minimally, to pursue employment opportunities. During that time, they are actively looking online, visiting employers, discussing benefits, attending hiring fairs and overall preparing for the working world.”

Barcia points out that Do-All utilizes the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model for all their providers in Bay County. The agency recently took state honors for its number of job placements.

“Do-All receives (client) referrals from five mental health providers, as well as Michigan Rehabilitation Services, and then begins working with them. This past year, Do-All placed fourth in the state based on the percentage of individuals working in the community integrated employment settings, utilizing the IPS model.”

The Do-All model has proven successful for Bauer.

Now working five mornings a week, Bauer is in charge of the fryer, crisping hash browns and occasionally serving them to customers that await. He also does janitorial work and replenishes ice for McDonald’s. In addition, he contributes periodically to Bay TV once a month, which has been a passion of his for years.

“Until I go back to school or find something better, I will stay at McDonald’s,” he says. “I also like working at the TV station. I like listening to music and watching TV. It's so interesting.

“I volunteer at Bay County TV in Bay City. I do the bulletin board. They put the programs in the airwaves and (do) the editing. Whenever they need me, Nick Page calls me and I’ll go down and help. It’s on Charter 190.”

This past holiday season, Bauer found a record player under the Christmas tree and is now collecting albums. He lives with his grandmother, Char Alcorn, who makes sure he gets to go see local music events too.

“I just got a record player for Christmas,” Bauer says enthusiastically. “I just started collecting classic rock records. The music sounds good!”

Bauer enjoys the Price Is Right on TV and also helping his grandmother shop.
“Grandma likes me working. I’m happy living with her.”

Now having been employed nearly a year and a half, Bauer checks in with his Job Development Specialist at Do-All monthly.

“I’m going to focus on McDonald’s for now. That’s good for me because I’m a busy guy. I enjoy Do-All. I couldn’t have done it without them.”