Three More Trailblazer Academy Participants Hired at New Jobs

STARability is proud to share that three more Trailblazer Academy participants now have paid employment. They are excited to put the vocational and life skills they have learned through the Trailblazer programming into action!

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of these talented, dedicated individuals, as well as the commitment of their employers, who lead the community in recognizing the great value of being an inclusive workplace.

Brett Cooney began working at BCB Homes in October. In his job, Brett is responsible for assembling corporate folders and brochures, putting together mailings for items such as holiday cards, as well as completing various custodial duties.

“Brett has been a breath of fresh air, and we really enjoy working with him,” says Erica Meile, who is Director of Sales & Marketing for BCB. “His positive attitude and willingness to help make him a shining star!”

Also in October, Shelbi Scott started her job at Royal Scoop. You can find her on Wednesday mornings adding stickers to to-go lids, prepping baskets for food orders, wiping down tables for customers and refreshing displays of toys for purchase at the Bonita Springs location! Shelbi’s manager, Steve Cummings, says she helps keep the staff grounded and puts a smile on their faces every shift.

“We love Shelbi here at the Royal Scoop,” Cummings says. “She has such a comfortable and calming vibe about her. She adds positivity to everyone’s day here.”

Stofft Cooney Architects hired Matt Martel in November. “Matt shows up to work with enthusiasm and a smile every day that brightens the office, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have him here,” says Partner John Cooney. On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, Matt completes an array of tasks around the office, many of which are perfectly suited to his love of cleaning and organizing. His responsibilities include checking and delivering the mail; unloading and sorting larger deliveries; cleaning the conference room; taking inventory; cleaning, stocking and organizing the kitchen and coffee station; stocking the office soaps and paper goods; collecting trash and recyclables; and more. He has found his new job to be a wonderful social opportunity as well.

“We hope to continue to expose Matt to other aspects of the professional work environment,” says Office Manager Jenny Haire, “so he will be able to grow his abilities for future long-term employment opportunities.”

Thank you to each business for your belief in these individuals, and to you, Trailblazers, for your hard work and contribution to our community! Let us see this number continue to rise on our journey toward a fully inclusive community.

To join the more than 25 businesses and organizations that lead by partnering with the Trailblazer Academy as a vocational training site or by employing one of STARability’s participants, please contact Employment Specialist Halley Kretschmer at or 239.594.9007.