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The Arc Jacksonville Launches Partnership with Jumbo Shrimp

— Work readiness internship program launches between The Arc Jacksonville and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp to create more employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental differences —

Jacksonville, Fla. – April 11, 2018 – Today, as the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp’s home season begins, so does the new work readiness partnership between The Arc Jacksonville and the Jumbo Shrimp.

In preparation for the first game, participants with The Arc Jacksonville began their season-long internship program in the kitchen of the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Under the leadership of Ernest Hopkins, Director of Food and Beverage for the Jumbo Shrimp, and his team, participants from both the Downtown and Westside locations of The Arc will learn food handling and prep skills while working in a live kitchen.

The Arc Jacksonville serves individuals in the community with differing abilities, providing job skills training, employment placement and internship opportunities. This pilot program will be intensive, training eight Arc participants this season with the support of Arc staff. Participants will attend for three hours the day prior and day of every home game in order to learn kitchen skills while helping to prepare concessions for attendees. The goal of the program is to learn safe food handling practices and prep techniques that will give these individuals a competitive advantage in securing independent employment in the community. Upon completion of the program, participants will be certified ServSafe Food Handlers.

“It is important to create awareness of the skills possessed by those with differing abilities. With more programs like this, we can work to improve the opportunities of more members of our community,” said Ernest Hopkins, as he was busily working in the kitchen area, preparing for Opening Day.

The Arc Jacksonville’s goal is to have the program serve as a successful training model, building upon it with other local businesses and organizations. With an average of 81% of those with intellectual or developmental differences in the US unemployed, The Arc Jacksonville works to narrow that figure locally through their innovative programs to advocate for those in the community, proving that all have unique skills and abilities that are fully employable.

“We are thrilled to have the Jumbo Shrimp as our first internship program partner. This opportunity will provide the skills training needed for these individuals to secure a job in our community. We hope that other businesses will follow their lead,” said Jim Whittaker, President/CEO of The Arc Jacksonville.

About The Arc Jacksonville

The Arc Jacksonville is a charitable non-profit organization founded in 1965, serving more than 500 adults each day. Program participants are empowered to take their next step in earning a living, education, creating a home, independence, recreation and community involvement. Through innovative programs, The Arc Jacksonville is on the front lines to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental differences and their families have the support and services they need to be fully engaged in their communities.

Their mission is to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential and to participate in community life. Visit for more information.

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