Home and Community Based Services in Minnesota – “Integrated Employment”

Home and Community Based Services in Minnesota – “Integrated Employment”


Today more than ever people with
disabilities and older adults are successfully working
in the community. Employment provides people a
sense of purpose and pride, as well as an opportunity to share
their talents and skills with the workplaces in
their communities. Work can provide increased
opportunities to meet new people, develop new
skills, gain more freedom, and earn more money. People receiving waiver services
in Minnesota have a variety of services and technologies that
can help them explore work opportunities that are
aligned with their interests. Once they’re hired, these
resources can help people excel and grow in their
jobs in the community. Here are some stories of people
working in community jobs, using their skills and talents
to build their best life. [Music] Leslie: In order to be
successful in the field of human services, and working with
people with disabilities, you really have to have the
mindset that you’re wanting to help individuals. Their small successes are huge
successes for us as staff here, just because it’s important for
them to be involved and be part of ORC and working through
ORC and getting involved into the community. I feel we’re lucky in the
transportation area because we have several different
opportunities. We provide our own
transportation but there’s also public transportation. Starting today actually, they
have created new routes that will benefit the employees
that we provide service to. They came in and did some focus
groups with us prior to setting up these routes and
asked our opinion. And we offered some suggestions
on, it would be great if you could have this bus stop at
this route at this certain time. The bus company has really
taken the time to rearrange the routes to make it beneficial
and more cost-effective. It’s a huge benefit for our
clients because it will give them more opportunity to work,
it’ll give a more opportunity to get to work at different
times of the day. And the other interesting and
fun thing that Winona has is what is called Dial-A-Ride. And basically what that is, is,
if you live two miles out of the city limits, you can actually
call Dial-A-Ride, and they will come in, pick you up, and bring
you to where you need to go. So not only do they provide
their daily routes, they can do the deviations to their
homes, which helps mobility. And they provide more of a
distant transportation inward to Winona, so it’s actually
a great service. [Music] Dale: We at Pro Works, we
realize the value of diversity where every human being has
value, we all have something to give that makes the
whole so much stronger. You’re going to work harder if
you feel that you own something as opposed to
working for someone. So you give them that sense of
ownership and they will, they support it. [Music] Jenny: When an individual
comes to us, they are being referred for work. Right now we serve
individuals who come into our program every day. Our goal here has been to get
people out in the community. Neenah: We’re filling the
needs of the businesses with traditional employees they
didn’t think of, and they’re able to train these clients in
just the way they need to, and we’re able to support them if
they have questions about their mental health, or their
abilities, and we’re always available for everybody, and
their resources that they need to achieve and make
this client successful. Eliza: MRCI has partnered with
Valley Fair in Shakopee, and I was actually out there with
them, and it’s just amazing to have people up at the front gate
taking tickets, and these kids would just light up
whenever they saw them. I think that’s huge! You know being out there and,
and having a company that, they’re very proud of the work
and accomplishment that we could do out at Valley Fair. Chris: Our restaurant here
is awesome for this program. The reason being is we’re a
small owned family restaurant, and we’re small enough
to where Liz has certain jobs that she can do. Elizabeth: And I punch in, and
then I go back and do Romayne, and I do bathrooms, and I do
tomatoes and, and bread bowls. And I come out here
when we’re busy. Chris: I think with Liz working
here, it creates a lot of self-worth because,
she’s treated like every other employee. She’ll tell you, I do not back
down on her, she has to do exact same work as everybody else
here, and since we’re a family-owned restaurant, you
know she’s one of the family. The cool thing about Liz is as
she’s grown is we have repeat customers that come
here all the time, our customers know Liz by name. When it’s Liz’s birthday, our
customers actually bring her balloons and cupcakes. The best part is, is whenever
Liz takes off, which I hate when she takes off because i
have to do all her work. Elizabeth: He doesn’t
like doing dishes. Chris: Our customers
start asking where she is. Like “Where’s Liz?”
“What happened to her?” Because they’re so used to
seeing Liz here, you know she’s a staple of Zuppa Cucina,
she’s always here. So as soon as she’s not here
everybody’s like “Where’s, what’s, what’s, where’s Liz?” Jenny: In individuals we work
with, when we’ve seen them get out into the community, like the
example that you’ve seen today with Liz, you know they’re able
to live independently, they have their own apartments, it really
helps them to be successful. That is a huge help for the
individuals we serve and really gets them motivated, and
keeps them motivated. They really want to be
just a contributing member. Mary Jo: I think that being able
to work here and for American Family, it has just helped
me get some self esteem back. And also realize that I still
am capable of doing things that are useful.
I have many many gifts and blessings that I’m
so grateful for. I didn’t know I would ever be
able to sit in a room and speak to people again so, all of it is
a combination of wonderfulness. [Music] Cory: The consumers that we’ve
been successful with in gaining community employment, their work
gives them a sense of pride, but there’s a different type of
pride when somebody gets a job whether it’s at a McDonald’s,
or a Walmart, or something and they’re able to go to
work, get that paycheck. It means just a little bit
more, it seems like to them. We have a gentleman, he one day
decided that he wanted to try the opportunity to
have a community job. We helped him fill out the
application at McDonald’s. He went in, did the
interview, and got hired. The pride he has in that job is
very evident in the things he says and how he carries himself,
he’s he definitely has more confidence in himself. Man he really
enjoys what he does! Bruce: I like this place.
I love all the people. I like to be here, I’m busy. Cory: I can tell you that, that
when he is working, community members stop and say hello to
him, and know him by first name and that, and so for him to have
that opportunity to have that interaction is something
that he never would have had in this setting. So it’s been really
positive for him. Bruce: I love it! [Music]

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