One Step At A Time: Finding My Niche In The Workforce


Shirley Bowald, Paul Anthony, and Michael Reiner in front of the Reach 4 More sign. 

Michael Reiner Columnist

After my freshman year of college, I decided that I wanted to get a summer job. 

When I first started the employment process, I thought that I would be the perfect candidate for any job. 

That wasn’t the case. I tried applying at retail stores, but they said that I needed to be able to lift 75 pounds. I can’t lift 75 pounds, so those jobs were out of the question. 

But then, I reached out to the Columbiana County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCBDD) and they saw that I had some potential. 

CCBDD was in the process of starting a new employment agency called Reach 4 More that would help people with disabilities find employment. 

I was hired as a job developer and I got to work with amazing people during my time there. I used my experiences as a person with a disability to help other people with disabilities find successful employment options. The job was really rewarding and I will never forget all of the wonderful things that the staff taught me. Now, let me tell you a little bit about them.

Bill Devon- Bill is the Superintendent of CCBDD. Bill has been friends with my dad for a very long time. I remember going to the East Liverpool ELKS Lodge for their famous wings. Mr. Devon and I would have fun conversations about wrestling and life. Above all else, Mr.Devon is primarily concerned with his students and their families. He is definitely in the job for the right reasons. The Assistant Superintendent Josh Martin is the same way. They are two great guys!


Courtney Waters and Avery Andric- These two people were a lot of fun. Courtney worked in the same section of the building as I did,  and Avery was one of our IT workers along with Jim McCauley. Courtney is a very sweet person and she was always good to me. Courtney and her fiancé Keaton got married this past weekend and I am super pumped for her. 


Avery and I would always have fun chats about our buddy, LeBron. Avery believes that LeBron will be better than Michael Jordan, but I think he’s crazy.  It was always fun hanging out with Avery. I would constantly remind him of the time when my Wellsville Tigers beat the amazing Lisbon Blue Devils basketball team he played on in the 2016 playoffs in Struthers. Those were good times.

Shirley Bowald was an amazing mentor. She was the leader of our team and she taught me all about professionalism. She was almost like a second mom to me. I will always appreciate the trips to Italos for their famous grilled chicken salads. Overall, I hope that Shirley and her family are still doing well.

Long story short, Paul Anthony is one of a kind. When I first walked through the door for my job interview at Reach 4 More, he gave me a hand up the steps. I was still struggling with driving at the beginning of my time there, so he offered to pick me up and take me to work everyday. I will never forget our car rides together because I got to learn so much about him. I guess he probably also learned a lot about me. We had tons of genuine conversations that I will always remember. Paul taught me how to be a good friend, and that’s something that I will never forget.

All of these people believed in me. I am grateful that all of these people looked at me the same way.

My dad is now on the board of CCBDD, and I think that is really cool. I’m proud that he is a part of such a great organization that is helpful to so many people.

At the end of the day, the reason why I loved this job was because I got to have a job that fit me and my abilities. It was an unbelievable feeling to help other people that might be in the same situation as me. I will never forget getting to help people with disabilities find their niche in the workforce. 

Contact Michael Reiner at [email protected]