In the past few months Access Press has recognized the champions and leaders within the disability community that have been recognized for their achievements and innovative programs for people with disabilities.
We would like to continue this recognition and switch the focus and recognition not only to the State of Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services Branch in Blaine, but to also recognize their First Annual Rehabilitation Services, Anoka County Workforce Center Employer of the Year, Jeanne Fleming from the USDA-APHIS.
In order for the disability community to be successful and working within corporations we need more Jeanne Flemings, and moe companies like the USDA-APHIS who hire people from the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Though right now it is an employers market and employers have more applicants than jobs, Rehab Services can help employers assess the skills of their candidates and the qualifications for the jobs, therefore, only sending the most qualified candidate to the interviews and saving the employer time and money during the process of hiring that new employee.
Steve Kuntz from the Blaine Branch states, “Rehab Services is our tax dollars hard at work. For every $1.00 spent for Rehab Services, $11.00 is generated as these candidates receive pay checks.” It is the future of your organizations that will benefit from looking at new hiring practices now. The more open the employment opportunities are for people with disabilities, as the workforce ages and many of us acquire those disabilities, the better chance we all stand in keeping our jobs or applying for that next job.
The great work that Jeanne Fleming is doing at the USDA-APHIS, of course, did not just happen over night. She had the opportunity to learn from a sister department, USDA Food Inspection, the great success they had in hiring candidates from Rehab Services. Jeanne took the chance, called Rehab Services and explained the job requirements for the position she was hiring. Then LaNay Koralesky, a placement coordinator, and Steve Kuntz matched five candidates to the requirement Jeanne had given to them. They took the candidates to the USDA for Jeanne and her staff to interview them. Jeanne extended a job offer to only one candidate, but she was extremely impressed with all of the candidates. She has taken the leap and spread the excitement throughout the organization. They were so impressed with the program that four more individuals were hired into two different departments.
To date, Rehab Services has nine candidates working at USDA-APHIS, and 17 candidates working at the USDA. Jeanne’s philosophy is “work hard, but you can have fun doing it.”
Jeanne Fleming has also been recognized by her staff, as A Super Supervisor. The individuals hired from Rehab Services into the USDA-APHIS say that, “Jeanne has not only given us the opportunity to contribute and excel in the workplace, but has also encouraged other supervisors to recruit and hire people with disabilities … Jeanne is very supportive and has a broad understanding of the needs of the individual, both physically and mentally … she goes above and beyond her role as a supervisor to accommodate our needs”
As an employer or supervisor of employees, can you find ways to replicate what the USDA has done with their partnership with Rehab Services? There are many organizations that have people with disabilities that are willing and ready to work. If you do not know where to find one, call Access Press at 651-644-2133. We will send you a list of the Rehab Services organizations.