We Belong to a Family: Individuals thrive while working at Joint Base Cape Cod

Since 1994, Cape Abilities has maintained a presence at Joint Base Cape Cod through the Source America/Ability One program. The team of individuals employed at the Base provides maintenance and recycling services to several departments, doing essential and meaningful work while making connections and earning a paycheck!

Left to right: Kayla Balbuena, Kaitlyn Balbuena, Lieutenant Billy Martin, Ryan Taggart, Kyle Dunne

“Everybody works together,” said Michael Swierz, of his favorite part of working at the Base. “Good people, good friends, and a good job,” echoed Kyle Dunne.

Source America is a nonprofit advocacy organization that connects nonprofits supporting individuals with disabilities to federal contract work through the Ability One program—creating inclusive job opportunities. Cape Abilities currently employs 16 individuals on Ability One contracts, who provide service across 31 buildings on site.

The Base offers a variety of jobs, including laundering linens, carpet cleaning, stripping and waxing floors, collecting and transferring recyclables, and maintaining the general cleanliness of the buildings and hangars. The Cape Abilities crew also operates with sustainability in mind, using 95% “green” products to minimize environmental impacts.

Cape Abilities staff Jutta Loughman (left) is pictured with Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 Pete VanSicklen

In addition, Cape Abilities holds contracts at the Veteran’s Center and the VA Clinic in Hyannis.

“I see the individuals happy to go to work. They are proud to make their own money,” said Ability One Contract Manager Jutta Loughman, of her favorite part of the program. “We have great relationships with everyone on the Base. It’s like a family—we belong to a family. And I think that is very important.”

Robert Davis has worked at Joint Base Cape Cod for 27 years

Pride in the job, as well as the affiliation with the Coast Guard, has been a driving force for individuals working at the Base—many of whom have worked through Ability One for more than a decade. Cape Abilities individuals regularly interact with Coast Guard members—sharing lunches and attending events. These positive relationships with peers and officials have helped individuals grow their work experience and social skills.

Robert Davis has worked on the Base for 27 years. “I like it because I do just about everything here. I like to make sure everything’s clean,” he said, citing floor work as his favorite job.

According to Jutta, what shines most on the Base is the daily expression of community.

“They all have the ability to work as a team. . . If another person is there to pick them up, everyone learns the importance of teamwork.”

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