Barry King began his journey at WORKTEC 20 years ago as a participant in the supported employment program. Barry made great strides and eventually began working part-time in a supervisory direct care position at a group home for adult males with developmental disabilities. After attending classes and passing rigorous testing, Barry became a Certified Peer Specialist; enabling him to assist others in realizing their potential.
Barry serves as a role model for what participants can achieve if they pursue both recovery and an active life in the community. With his unique perspective, Barry is able to help people integrate into a life of work and success. He assists people in making good choices about where to work, how to spend their hard-earned money, and where to live. By encouraging people to achieve, he has become a person others look up to. Barry attends as many as 40 hours of training throughout the year to keep informed about new trends in direct support. He sees work as a way for people to be valued as employees, not looked at as an individual with a disability. Barry has said, “I am the evidence,” proof that through hard work, and the willingness to embrace the curves life may throw, one can build character and succeed.
Over the last two years, Barry has suffered both a devastating motorcycle accident, and a heart attack. The accident could have left him paralyzed. After a long recovery period, he was able to get back to work at WORKTEC. He took the heart attack as a lesson, and quit smoking. By continuing to thrive through it all, he has become an inspiration to both participants and coworkers at WORKTEC. His motto, “you can’t keep a good man down,” has served him well, and will continue to benefit the people he supports.
“I started my career with BHDD in 1997. I worked part time in a residential program for persons with Behavioral Health issues. My job was rewarding because I got to have fun working with others like myself. I took them on recreational activities such as concerts, museums, etc. After one year I decided to work full time and moved to a group home with three males with developmental disabilities. I learned that they got better by taking recreational trips in the community and participating in activities. What these individuals needed was involvement with the community. I was helping peers to enjoy the satisfaction of being included in their own recovery by making choices. I made another move to WORKETEC. Working with others helps me too. It’s like I tell my peers, “You guys make my job easy because we are able to do what we like to do.” That is, work and have the means to participate in the community. I let it be known that work is a part of becoming a contributing member of society. The next step is to help others. I have taken people on trips, to AA meetings, to the beach, etc. This is what makes my job fun and entertaining, to help people with a disability to recover and look at possibilities they may not have thought of before. I recommend the field of direct support for anyone who has a desire to help others succeed. The amount of energy you put towards improving the lives of others will come back to you tenfold if this is what you choose to do with your life.” Barry King