For three years Chris Norton has enjoyed packing beer at Northern Brewery and talking Xbox with his co-workers.
"We just chill, listen to music and pack beer," he told The Daily News on Tuesday.
For Norton, who grew up on a farm, being able to work and earn a living is important.
"I like working. I don't like being on disability and just sitting around doing nothing," said Norton. "If I can get more work, it'd be good."
Norton has an anxiety disorder that makes it difficult for him to go into a work-search centre to get a resume made or apply for a job.
Fortunately Norton was able to connect with Smart Options, a supported employment service that connects people with developmental disabilities to employers for full-time, part-time, seasonal, and contract work.
"They helped us all find jobs and do all that (job hunting) for us. It makes it a lot easier on us," he said.
Smart Options found him and 11 others work at Northern Brewery, which Social Development Minister Don McRae toured Tuesday morning.
The province has given $100,000 to three pilot projects designed to strengthen employment services for adults with developmental disabilities.
McRae said Smart Options benefits people in the Interior, as do similar projects in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
George Cziglan, the brewery's director of operations, said two of the Smart Options employees are permanent part time. The rest work a couple of days a week.
Smart Options subsidizes the brewery, and the employees earn minimum wage, he said.
"It works really well for both sides," said Cziglan. "I believe this is a fantastic program."
Smart Options is funded by Community Living B.C.