JEVS hands out Human Services Strictly Business Awards

Ox­ford Circle’s Danny Guz­man gradu­ated from the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf with the highest grade-point av­er­age in the class of 2009.

As Guz­man looked to the fu­ture, he toured Or­leans Tech­nic­al In­sti­tute, 2770 Red Li­on Road. He en­rolled in mid-2010 after passing an en­trance test.

At Or­leans, his course of study was heat­ing, vent­il­a­tion and air con­di­tion­ing. The class las­ted six months. The stu­dent found his teach­ers ac­com­mod­at­ing and ap­pre­ci­ated learn­ing in­ter­view­ing skills.

Today, at age 20, he is work­ing as a main­ten­ance trades help­er in the HVAC shop at PRIDE In­dus­tries, a com­pany that serves Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lake­hurst in Bur­l­ing­ton County, N.J. He cred­its Or­leans with get­ting him ready for the work­ing world.

“I’m proud of the chal­lenges I over­came. I gradu­ated, and that trans­lated to a job,” he said through in­ter­pret­er Susan Smith. “It was a great pro­gram for me. I really ex­celled at the hands-on work. When I went to the job, I was pre­pared. Many thanks to the staff. The staff there made me as suc­cess­ful as I am today. They were very en­cour­aging.”

Guz­man last week was one of the honorees at the 13th an­nu­al JEVS Hu­man Ser­vices Strictly Busi­ness Awards.

About 600 people at­ten­ded the lunch­eon at the Sheraton hotel at 17th and Race streets. CBS 3’s Stephanie Stahl was the em­cee.

JEVS Hu­man Ser­vices is a so­cial ser­vice agency that of­fers skills train­ing and ca­reer en­hance­ment op­por­tun­it­ies. Pro­ceeds from the event fun­ded schol­ar­ships to JEVS’ vo­ca­tion­al as­sess­ment, job read­i­ness, skills train­ing and ca­reer man­age­ment ser­vices.

The awards were cre­ated to re­cog­nize the con­tri­bu­tions of the Phil­adelphia re­gion’s best com­pan­ies and people.

The Busi­ness Lead­er­ship Award went to two Phil­adelphia-area com­pan­ies.

The Fresh Gro­cer, an in­de­pend­ent su­per­mar­ket chain, of­fers op­por­tun­it­ies to, among oth­ers, those who have had brushes with the law.

Per­eg­rine Sur­gic­al Ltd., a com­pany based in New Bri­tain, Bucks County, that man­u­fac­tures in­stru­ments for eye sur­gery, routinely hires cli­ents from the Cen­ter for New Amer­ic­ans.

Guz­man and Cale­do­nia “Ca­ley” Spe­le­os both won the In­spir­a­tion Award.

Spe­le­os, 18, gradu­ated from George Wash­ing­ton High School last June. She lived much of her life in Madis­on, Wis., but moved to Bustleton with her dad in the sum­mer of 2008. She spent three years at Wash­ing­ton, of­ten liv­ing with friends.

JEVS Ca­reer Strategies and Pre­par­ing, At­tain­ing and Sus­tain­ing Suc­cess (PASS) helped Spe­le­os over­come her chal­len­ging home en­vir­on­ment, which in­cluded a lack of fin­an­cial and fam­ily sup­port.

PASS is offered to high school ju­ni­ors for a 20-month peri­od. The pro­gram helped Spe­le­os learn to cre­ate a re­sume and in­ter­view with an em­ploy­er.

“The in­form­a­tion was help­ful. I was set up with the base skills to work in a pro­fes­sion­al busi­ness,” she said.

Today, Spe­le­os is liv­ing with her boy­friend in East Oak Lane and at­tend­ing Com­munity Col­lege of Phil­adelphia. She ex­pects to spend two years at CCP, then trans­fer to a four-year col­lege for ar­chi­tec­ture. She is con­sid­er­ing Drexel Uni­versity.

Spe­le­os is gain­ing ex­per­i­ence work­ing as an in­tern at L2­Part­ridge, an ar­chi­tec­ture and in­teri­or design com­pany at 17th and Arch streets.

“I love the fact that I have the op­por­tun­ity to work in an en­vir­on­ment I want to spend my life in,” she said. “I love the beauty of build­ings. It’s an art.”

Jay Spect­or, pres­id­ent and CEO of JEVS Hu­man Ser­vices, said his agency de­vel­ops en­dur­ing re­la­tion­ships with em­ploy­ers and tries to match those com­pan­ies with the right work­ers for their busi­ness.

The awards lunch­eon, Spect­or said, en­ables JEVS Hu­man Ser­vices to show off the op­por­tun­it­ies it of­fers and the suc­cess stor­ies it cel­eb­rates.

The re­ces­sion and job­less re­cov­ery haven’t really slowed down the agency’s place­ment rate.

“We keep go­ing and find­ing op­por­tun­it­ies for cli­ents and em­ploy­ers who are will­ing to hire,” he said. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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