A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Chris Hensley, a foster mom, is new employment specialist at Point/Arc’s Zembrodt Education Center

By Andy Furman
NKyTribune reporter

Chris Hensley has been practicing for this for years.

The new Employment Specialist at The Point/Arc’s Zembrodt Education Center has worked in social services the past 20 years.

“And from 2017 to 2021 I fostered nine children,” said the single-parent and native of Richmond, Ind. “This job is just perfect; it’s what I’ve been doing with youngsters for some time.”

What Hensley has been doing is helping teens adjust to adulthood.

“I’ll help them open bank accounts, move into homes, and mentor them in all social skills,” the Gallatin County High School grad said.

Chris Hensley

And perhaps the strangest match for Hensley was finding The Point/Arc.

“I knew about the Point-Perk; their coffee shop,” said Hensley, a Sociology and Political Science major at Northern Kentucky University. “And I heard about their laundry.”

The Point-Perk and Point Laundry are two of four social enterprises operated and owned by the Covington-based non-profit organization celebrating its 50th year of service in 2022.

The other social enterprises are: The Point Commercial Cleaning Company and The Point Apparel Company.

“I know it sounds strange, but I really heard about The Point on the radio,” she said. “It was during the Block Party (Aug. 5th).”

Jon Jon, from Cincinnati’s KISS 107.1 FM Radio was interviewing a Point staffer who mentioned positions were available, she admitted.

Hensley sent her resume, and the marriage between her and The Point/Arc was on its way.

She says she’s presently monitoring three-to-four clients – ages 19 to 28 – helping them find employment.

“Hopefully, successful long-term employment,” she said.


“I’ll find them a job that meets their needs; that’s close to where they live and perhaps help with accommodations,” she said. “It’s all about long-term goals.”

And Brandon Releford, The Executive Director for the Zembrodt Education Center echoes that thought.

“The ZEC,” he said, “is experiencing such tremendous growth; and we’re seeing our students getting jobs they can be proud of.”

With growth, Releford adds, there is need for more staff.

“We re-started our Supported Employment program in March of this year and our coordinator had a full caseload of students; so, we knew it was time to hire another full-time employment specialist. We found exactly what we were looking for with Chris.

“She is dynamic in her approach and between her and our Supported Employment Coordinator, Brittney Burkholder, there is no stopping this team – we’re on the move,” he said.

Hensley says there are almost 10,000 homeless children in Kentucky – “I just wanted to be in a good landing place,” she said.

Presently, Chris Hensley is fostering five children at her home – two are in school, she says, and three – ages 18-19 – are working – Kroger and Frisch’s.

“I’m just taking my life’s work,” shew said, “And expanding it to a career.”

The Point/Arc was founded in 1972 by a group of parents fighting for the educational rights of their children, who were diagnosed with an intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD). The mission – to help people with disabilities achieve their highest potential educationally, socially, residentially, and vocationally. More than this, The Point/Arc has been an organization that identifies gaps in services and provides care and support to fill these gaps – even when government funding sources are not available.

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