Pathways to Employment Film Series

The Arc of Indiana has produced a documentary film series, Pathways to Employment, which celebrates six unique Hoosiers who have not let their developmental disabilities stand in their way of becoming employed. The six short films are designed to share the message that hiring people with developmental disabilities is “Good for Business, Good for People and Good for the Economy.”

You can find all of the films on The Arc of Indiana’s YouTube channel in the playlist, Pathways to Employment.

The films will be available on DVD, along with a tool kit for use by advocacy groups, parent and self-advocate organizations, schools, civic organizations, businesses and providers of services to people with disabilities.

The DVD and tool kit can be ordered by contacting The Arc of Indiana at 317-977-2375 or 800-382-9100 or

Following is a synopsis (and hyperlink) to each film in the Pathways to Employment series.

Passion to Opportunity – Drew Dietrick, Indianapolis
Drew Dietrick has always had a passion and keen understanding of animals. He participated in a number of wildlife related opportunities as he grew up in Indianapolis. After earning a degree in Wildlife Conservation from Unity College in Maine, Drew began working for theIndianapolis Zoo and the Marion County Board of Voter’s Registration. Drew’s personal slogan is “New Day, New Opportunity.”

Empowered to Lead – Shawn Rector, Lafayette
Shawn Rector’s career path at Wabash Center in Lafayette has evolved from consumer to employee. Over the years, Shawn has assumed greater roles of responsibility not only at work, but also as a volunteer. Shawn serves on the boards of Self-Advocates of Indiana and The Arc of Indiana, and participates in Best Buddies and Special Olympics. He is a man dedicated to making the world a better place for others.

Networks of Support – Cheryl Thompson, Bloomington
Cheryl Thompson grew up in a protective family environment. It was only after the family moved to Bloomington that her sister and staff at Stone Belt Arc helped her take little steps out into the world of community and employment. Today Cheryl works for the IU Police Department, does assembly work for Cook Incorporated, and enjoys her many friends and social activities. Her willingness to try new things and her positive outlook on life inspire all who come to know Cheryl.

The Dream Job – Ryan Steele, Lafayette
Ryan Steele’s family encouraged Ryan to embrace his love of sports while he was in high school by being involved in any way he could. These experiences helped him find his dream job – working at Purdue University in West Lafayette in the Sports Equipment Room. Ryan also works at Wiley Food Court on the Purdue Campus. Ryan loves both jobs and enjoys meeting and working with all those he comes in contact with, whether a star basketball player or a typical Purdue student.

An Entrepreneur’s Vision – Brandon Boas, Columbus
Brandon is a highly motivated, talented, self employed photographer. His family encouraged him to learn photography skills, but he spearheaded the process of turning it into a business. Brandon knows how to promote himself,his work and his message. Brandon readily shares his vision that we should all discover what we love and make that our life’s work.

Advocate for Change – Melody Cooper, Indianapolis
Melody Cooper came to Indianapolis when her Aunt Alice saw that she needed a chance to follow her dreams. Getting a job, opening a bank account and moving into an apartment with a roommate were all steps toward achieving her dreams. Today, Melody is President of Self- Advocates of Indiana, Employment Advocate for The Arc of Indiana, and lives with her husband, Joe, in their own home. When she asks “What are your dreams?” she is ready to show others what is possible if only you believe in yourself.

The documentary series is narrated by Michelle Fischer, Lafayette. Michelle is a young woman with cerebral palsy who is following her dream to be a broadcast journalist as host of The Arc of Indiana’s podcast, A View from My Window. The podcast features Michelle’s insightful interviews with families, self-advocates, providers and leaders in the disability field on issues facing people with developmental disabilities and their families.

The films comprising Pathways to Employment were created by filmmaker Ken Oguss.  Funding for the project was provided by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

Ready to start down your pathway to employment?

Download our Guide to Community Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Another great message on employment – What Can You Do?