Isaiah | Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana
Isaiah folds together a box at Vestil Manufacturing Corp. in Angola. He will pack the box with metal stakes and an instruction sheet. The stakes will be used to hold curb stops in place.
Isaiah packs metal stakes that will be used to secure curb stops in a parking lot.
Isaiah seals a box at Vestil Manufacturing Corp. in Angola, where he’s worked for more than a year.

It took more than one job for Isaiah to find a good fit, but that’s what he has at Vestil Manufacturing Corp. in Angola. He can rattle off the job’s advantages, point by point:

  • “People are nice.”
  • “I can work part time.”
  • “I can have a lunch break.”
  • “I get Fridays, the weekends and holidays off.”

He definitely appreciates the pay, too.

“I might buy videogames or food or drinks. Or I might save it,” Isaiah said.

His first jobs were in a restaurant and then a grocery store, but he didn’t think his co-workers treated him well. Sometimes serving customers proved challenging, too.

His first factory job suited him much better, but he was laid off when the company’s workload dwindled. Easterseals RISE employment specialist Nuka Wilkins had worked with him when he was employed in that first factory job, and she was there to help again when he was laid off. Since Isaiah had thrived working in a manufacturing environment, she looked for openings at other manufacturers.

Managers at Vestil not only took her call, but also demonstrated how interested they were.

“We reached out to them, and they were more than open to working with us,” she said. “All we did was schedule a tour of the location, and we just went ahead with the paperwork after that. When we went on the tour, they already had specific jobs they’d carved out” with Easterseals participants in mind.

Isaiah started work at Vestil in November 2022. His job is called “dock helper,” she said, because the main products produced at the plant where he works involve loading docks.

Isaiah’s work revolves around a smaller product line: equipment for securing curb stops. Curb stops, also called parking blocks or wheel stops, are the small barriers used at the end of parking spaces to help drivers park.

Isaiah folds and tapes small cardboard boxes, then he packs each box with several metal spikes – to hold curb stops or speedbumps in place – plus a sheet of instructions and a roll of tape. He stacks each box on a pallet after he has taped it shut. His goal is filling a pallet with sealed boxes by the end of his four-hour shift. Isaiah works from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The plant where Isaiah works is the smallest of Vestil’s facilities. Only about 15 people work there, Wilkins said. It’s been a great place to cultivate the friendly relationships with other workers that mean so much to Isaiah.

“He has a great relationship with everyone,” she said. “Everyone comes by and talks with him and supports him.”

Chuck Dornbush, operations managers for that Vestil plant, says Isaiah brings a good work ethic to his job, too.

“He’s always trying his best,” Dornbush said. “He’s very rarely missed work. He’s on it, and he takes it very seriously.”

“A big thing for him is the interaction with people. People love to talk to him,” he said. “He’s genuinely happy to be here. It shows, and it rubs off.”