As a freshman finishes his food at the Cannon Center, he places his tray on the tray return rack, and on the other side of the tray return he hears a voice belting out “Be My Guest.” This voice comes from a jovial special needs worker named Willy Jepson.
The Commons at the Cannon Center hosts special needs workers who are learning job skills. These workers learn how to work in the dish room and in the scullery, where they learn teamwork and other skills. They have teachers that supervise them and teach them how to do a certain job. Christopher Schubert, the senior job coach, helps assist the workers and gives them each a specific task or job.
“Some of them have very specific skills,” Schubert said. “For example, one of the workers specializes in putting away silverware.”
The workers are also known for their enthusiastic personalities and their exceptional teamwork.
“They always have a good attitude and they are always very positive,” Schubert said. “They are also very sincere about their job, they want to do the best they can. I love working with them.”
Scotty Gardner, a special-needs worker that enjoys putting away silverware, has been working at the Cannon Commons for a few semesters.
“I love my friends and the food,” Gardner said.
The common denominator for most of the workers is that their favorite part about working at the Cannon Commons is being able to work with their friends every day.
Roger Cozzens, a special-needs dish room worker, likes his friends as well as the feeling of accomplishment when he finishes his tasks.
“I put cups in the glass racks and throw away garbage,” Cozzens said. “I like doing my job because I’m good at it.”
The BYU students who work at the Commons also enjoy working with the special-needs workers.
Kevin Christensen, a host at the Commons, considers the dish room workers to be the best motivation for going to work.
“I love working with them,” Christensen said. “They are always smiling and happy and their positive attitudes are contagious.”