4 Members of Benevilla Group Supported Employment Program Hired by Chick-fil-A

August 09, 2021

Benevilla is excited to announce their new GSE partnership with the Surprise Marketplace Chick-fil-A restaurant.  4 members of their program were recently hired by the local Chick-fil-A and have started working at the restaurant.  Joshua Smith, Front of House Director stated “It truly is our pleasure to partner with Benevilla and provide meaningful work for members of your GSE team.  Our founder, Truett Cathy, often said “We are in the people business, we just happen to serve chicken.”  This partnership puts legs to Chick-fil-A’s desire to be the most caring company in the world. Personally, it is enriching to work for a company with that desire, professionally it is fulfilling to have the opportunity to care for people.”

The GSE (Group Supported Employment) program is a part of the Benevilla “Helping Partners” Life Enrichment Program.  It provides their members with intellectual and developmental challenges with employment skills training and opportunities. Many GSE employees can obtain training and certifications, such as a food handlers’ cards and work in job opportunities where they earn a steady paycheck.

Joshua continued “Chris Hall, the owner of this location lives in the valley and frequently can be found working right alongside his employees.  He has desired to partner with someone in this way for a while. Thus, when this opportunity came along it was an easy decision for him.  We have in the past partnered with (and continue to do so in various ways) the local Hope Women’s Center, Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine Prom, and the local deaf community to name a few other opportunities that have been important to Chris and to Chick-fil-A.”

The GSE Program offers many benefits to a hiring company as well.  Individuals with disabilities and developmental challenges may offer employers a competitive edge, helping diversify and strengthen their workplaces through varied perspectives on how to confront challenges and complete jobs.  GSE employees bring commitment to the workplace, and they excel at performing repetitive tasks normally contributing to excessive employee turnover.  Studies show employees with disabilities stay at jobs longer, reducing the time and cost involved in retraining and replacing personnel. GSE members take their job seriously and are loyal and committed.  Other benefits reported by businesses include improvement in productivity and morale and more diversity in the workplace. And these benefits can have a real impact on a company’s bottom line.

Cynthia Osuna, Recruiting Coordinator with Chick-fil-A Surprise Marketplace says “Having GSE workers at our location means supporting not just select areas of the community but the community as a whole.  Even though they are adults with disabilities, they still have a lot to offer the community.  We want to make them feel loved, respected, and accepted. This is our biggest part of reaching them as people and sharing with our community we care more about than just selling chicken.  We are more about the community impact.”

The Benevilla Helping Partners Program serves adults with intellectual and developmental challenges.  The program offers flexible and personalized daily schedules, meaningful, life enriching programs, a social atmosphere and various community interactions and outings.  Activities include group exercise, socialization through games, gardening, discussion groups, entertainment, outings, arts & crafts, and cognitive stimulation through brain games, cards, puzzles, and more.  Benevilla provides the latest in proven therapeutic methods for increased levels of happiness and engagement for all members.  For every person enrolled in a Benevilla program, two people get their lives back: the individual and the caregiver.

“We are incredibly thankful to Chick-fil-A, Chris Hall and their team for supporting our amazing program and we are passionate about expanding this program to the local business community knowing how it can benefit both the hiring company and the GSE members in so many ways,” states Joanne Thomson, Benevilla President and CEO.

To learn how to become a GSE community partner or more about the program, please contact Beth Stockton at bstockton@benevilla.org or Jay Lickus at jlickus@benevilla.org or by phone at (623) 584-4999.