A full house at Thursday's meeting of the Interagency Council of Carbon County listened as Oscar Santizo, employment specialist with Human Resources Center Inc., Stroudsburg, described his organization's efforts to help folks with disabilities find and keep jobs and homes.

People who are referred to the agency are assessed to "see if the referral that we have is accurate, that this person is qualified for employment or schooling of some kind. That takes about 20 or 30 hours, he said. After the assessment, "we look for a job for them," Santizo said.

"When we look for a job for them, we train them, everything from interview training to resume training," he said. The training includes mock interviews that are "put on camera, so they can see what can be corrected," Santizo said.

Staff accompanies the client to interviews. "Once they land the job, that's when we roll our sleeves up and we do the job with them," he said. This is done through certified job coaches.

Santizo reminded his audience that "we are all close to getting disabled. We are all that far from disability," he said, holding his palms close together. Illness or accidents can happen without warning. Santizo used himself as an example.

"Ten years ago, I had a little accident and spent 21 months with intensive brain damage. And here I am, by the grace of God," he said.

Human Resources Center Inc. serves eight counties. It's main office is in Honesdale, Wayne County, although it also has offices in other places, including Jim Thorpe and Stroudsburg. The not-for-profit corporation was founded in 1973 and provides group homes, foster care for those who are developmentally delayed, supported independent living, respite care, rehabilitation, transportation, adaptive devices and physical alterations to homes of severely physically challenged people, companion service people who are developmentally delayed and who live in nursing homes, community integrated employment, vocational and community options, and vocational training and job coaching.

The Stroudsburg office can be reached at (570) 402-4961. The Jim Thorpe office is at (570) 325-9960.