DRTC was well represented at the 35th Annual Governor’s Disability Employment Awards. Employment Training Specialists nominated award recipients Jeremy, Joshua, Peter, and businesses Epworth Villa and Crest Foods. The DRTC Employment Training Specialists who helped their clients achieve this recognition are Vivian, Caitlin, Kim, and Denise.
Jeremy: Jeremy’s life has improved greatly after gaining integrated employment. Jeremy has purchased a car, paid off some of his debt, and has moved into an upscale apartment. Jeremy’s social life has also improved after reconnecting with family and friends. Jeremy is a member of a foosball tournament team and participates in events in both Oklahoma and Texas. Jeremy began his employment history at Administrative Advantage in Norman. During Jeremy’s work at Administrative Advantage, he had simple tasks verifying insurance documentation. His duties increased and became more complex by implementing solutions and problem solving issues with patients, doctors, and insurance companies. Jeremy’s confidence grew as he became more successful. His manager at one point moved Jeremy to the front area of the business because of his customer service skills and friendly personality. He then became an employee of Marriott as a full-time night auditor. Jeremy is extremely focused while performing his duties and has outstanding customer service skills. During his employment, Jeremy has improved his problem-solving skills and has learned when to express concerns to his supervisor. Jeremy demonstrates dedication to work daily with a positive attitude!
Joshua: Joshua’s confidence has grown tremendously since he started working. He is now comfortable initiating conversations with customers and his coworkers. Joshua also looks forward to participating in company holiday parties, birthday parties, and participating in Employee Appreciation Days! Joshua started his very first job as a Sacker at Crest. He was initially uncomfortable interacting with others. Now he is able to provide excellent service to the customers and assist them confidently. Joshua quickly learned which items to sack together and is always cautious to handle the customer’s groceries with care. He demonstrates pride in his work and inspects it for quality after completion. Recently, Joshua has taken on additional responsibilities, including cart-pushing and stocking duties when the store is shorthanded. When stocking, Joshua will face each item and shelve it neatly. He also reorganizes other items on the shelf in disarray. Joshua’s supervisors stated that he is always willing to help wherever the store needs it!
Peter: Peter has been able to manage attending college classes and working. His self confidence has significantly grown due to his employment. Peter has learned to manage personal finances and demonstrates the ability to make responsible decisions based on personal needs. Peter has become more confident in interacting with others and will initiate conversation. Peter submitted a drawing for Autism Awareness Week which was recognized and posted in the cafeteria of the hospital. He still volunteers regularly in the stock room at another hospital where he has established more positive working relationships. Peter follows all hospital policy and procedures accurately when delivering patient trays and sanitizing. Peter has experience volunteering in a hospital setting, so this prepared him to navigate throughout the hospital and recognize signage easily. Peter has demonstrated competence in hospital policy and problem-solving abilities. Peter is able to navigate the hospital, deliver trays, sanitize required surfaces, and assist coworkers with minimal to no supervision. Peter takes it upon himself to ensure all food carts are stocked with condiments and sanitized properly. Peter is dependable and takes pride in his work!
Epworth Villa: There are three Epworth Villa Supervisors, Anthony and Sherri in Housekeeping, and Jamie in Dining Services who have been instrumental in the success of individuals with disabilities with disabilities working with them. They have been flexible in adapting the job tasks and work location for the two most recent individuals with disabilities working for them. When applicants are recruited and interviewed to work at Epworth, they are provided information about the job and what is expected. The interviews are not rushed and all questions are answered including whether there are work accommodations that might be needed in order for the person to work successfully. The job coach is also included in the interviews to assist in negotiating the needed accommodations. Epworth Villa has followed through with all requested accommodations. Epworth Villa is a business that supports and respects the desire for a person with a disability to become an employee who then contributes to the success of the facility. Epworth Villa is an employer that recognizes how individuals with disabilities can demonstrate their abilities at work!
Crest Foods: Crest Foods and Tonya have demonstrated the commitment to assisting persons with disabilities to expand their employment goals. Tonya leads a Crest management team of wonderful individuals who support, encourage, and expect the best from all their employees. Crest has been a leader in employing persons with disabilities as they have experienced many times the great employees they become. The most outstanding accommodation that Crest has provided to employees is the adjustment of work schedules. Crest is also known for their “Sacker School,” which not only trains employees on the proper way to sack groceries, but also helps to improve the efficiency and speed of serving the customer. Employees with disabilities participate as part of the Crest team. One specific example is the opportunity to attend the Crest employee day at Frontier City. All employees are expected to step up and fill in where needed and this includes the employees with disabilities. This enhances the workplace culture where all contribute to the store’s success.