Employing a ClemsonLIFE Student

Tetramer gained a new team member last August as we began a partnership with the ClemsonLIFE program at nearby Clemson University. 

The ClemsonLIFE ™ program at Clemson University offers a collegiate experience that prepares young men and women with intellectual disabilities for competitive employment and independent living through a combination of academic coursework and career exploration. The program is designed for students who desire a post-secondary experience on a college campus. Our program incorporates functional academics, independent living, employment and social/leisure skills in a public university setting with the goal of producing self-sufficient young adults. (ClemsonLIFE website)

ClemsonLIFE student, Josh, sorts and delivers the mail to the rest of the team.

When we initially contacted ClemsonLIFE program about partnering with them to offer a student job placement at Tetramer, we connected with Sarah McAlpine, ClemsonLIFE Employment Instructor. Sarah and her team helped us envision how Josh would fit in with our group of scientists and engineers doing advanced materials research.

For employers in the Clemson area considering engaging with the ClemsonLIFE program, Tetramer CEO, Jeff DiMaio has this advice, “The best thing we did was to have Sarah McAlpine come visit with the Tetramer team in advance to help answer employee questions and communicate expectations. We needed to adjust responsibilities as we learned Josh’s strengths and weaknesses. I would make sure your team is ready for a transition period. Prepare to invest more time upfront and then trust that things will smooth out as everyone gets into a routine.”

These days, Josh takes the Clemson Area Transit bus to our facility on S. Mechanic Street in Pendleton where he works about 10 hours each week during the academic semester. His duties include mail delivery, refilling drinks and snacks, straightening the common areas, recycling, and sweeping the labs. He’s also helped with filing papers and assembling furniture. 

Josh sweep

"Tetramer Technologies has gone above and beyond to serve Josh in his employment endeavors. Josh is fully included as a team member and has grown tremendously in the months he has been working with Tetramer. The staff has embraced our mission to teach and equip our students with transferable employment skills, holding high expectations and providing communication and support. ClemsonLIFE could not serve our students without incredible partnerships like Tetramer!"

Sarah Taylor, Tetramer Operations Director, has served as the main point of contact for Josh’s time at Tetramer. She had this to say about the experience, “Working with the ClemsonLIFE program has been as much of a growth opportunity for us as it has been for Josh. Our employees have embraced Josh as a team member, and while we have helped him learn new job skills that he can take with him after he graduates from ClemsonLIFE, he has helped us learn to focus on his abilities rather than his disabilities.”

Jeff DiMaio added, “In the end, Josh is just another one of the team. Every member of a team faces different challenges and struggles in life and work. Josh’s challenges may by different from mine, but we face our challenges together. One of Tetramer’s core axioms is that ‘We believe every person at Tetramer is doing their best and trying to get better.’ Josh is a perfect fit with that culture and a great example for us to follow.”

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