Wegmans Welcomes Employees of All Abilities
09/28/2023 · Making a Difference
Wegmans has a long history of supporting individuals with disabilities, both in our communities and in our stores. Over the last 25 years, our Allentown, Pennsylvania, store has partnered with organizations including Via of the Lehigh Valley and the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living to hire dozens of employees with disabilities, many of whom still work at the store today.
Alyssa G. joined the Allentown team 11 years ago. She had recently relocated to the area to be closer to family and was looking for a job to maintain her independence. A local organization that supports jobseekers with disabilities assisted her with finding employment at Wegmans and provided her with a job coach to ensure she was successful in her new position.
“The job coach acts as liaison, and a guide for us too. Typically, they’ve worked with those employees for a longer period, and they know them fairly well, so they can offer us some great insight,” said Lynn F., Human Resources director for our Pennsylvania and Delaware stores.
Alyssa spent her first six years at Wegmans working in the prepared foods department, washing dishes, and maintaining the dish room equipment. Her job coach and coworkers, including kitchen manager, Chad P., helped her to find her way during those early days.
“When I first got here, I didn’t know what I was in for. It’s a big store and there are a lot of dishes to do. It was really hard for me in the beginning,” said Alyssa. “Chad showed me how to do my job correctly, he showed me how to stay focused. He’s a good manager, and a very good person.”
As Alyssa gained confidence and honed her skills, she began to work independently, with only occasional check-ins from her job coach.
“Alyssa is so good at being able to change with the times, and flow with things,” said Allentown Store Manager Joe S. “One day you’ll see her in pizza, the next day she’s doing sides for subs.”
Over the years, Alyssa has had new opportunities to learn and grow. She now works in a variety of departments on the perishable side of the store, switching between pizza, subs, and the market café. Each week, she prepares hundreds of sides for sub trays, refills cutlery, napkins, and condiments in the café, and helps customers with their pizza orders. She greets everyone in the café and has made many friends over the years, building connections with both colleagues and customers.
“Alyssa brings a positive energy to the store,” said Joe. “She’s really enthusiastic and can carry on a conversation with anyone.”
As part of the Allentown store’s Care Team, Alyssa enjoys taking care of her work family, which now includes her mom who joined Wegmans two years ago. Each month, the team meets to decide what they will serve employees as a way to thank them for their dedication and hard work.
“I love working here, we’re like a big family,” said Alyssa. “Everyone works so hard, it’s good to take a little break from your job and have a little fun during work hours. It brings people together.”
For Joe, the key to building that family atmosphere starts with hiring people who share the same values, despite their varied backgrounds, life experiences, and abilities.
“The people that we hire, that we partner with, they have our values too, and they do such a great job,” said Joe. “I’m glad we continue to support people of all abilities because they give us everything they’ve got. They’re really valued as team members here, and they play a key role at this store. Not having them would affect the store greatly.”
Alyssa loves that she can be her authentic self at work and has the full support of her coworkers and managers.
“There’s no judgement here, you can be yourself,” said Alyssa. “Everyone is here to welcome you with open arms. Wegmans has shown me that so many times. It’s really a good feeling to be myself.”