Dickinson Center, Inc. (DCI), participated in National Disability Employment Awareness Month by hosting an annual celebration for consumers that have made strides toward reaching their vocational goals. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "America’s Workforce: Empowering All".
The October 4th event, at the DCI main office, was opened by Jim Prosper, director of Operations, followed by speeches from Marsha Dippold, director of Employment Support Services (ESS), and several employees with the consumers they serve. For example, Employment Support Specialist Bryan Linton, mentioned how his two years at DCI have changed his life. According to Linton, all of the consumers he worked with personally touched his heart including Amber who is always eager to say yes to helping out. Since she’s been in the ESS program, Amber was hired as a cleaner at the Knights of Columbus, DCI, the Drop-In Center, as well as, working in the produce department at a local grocery store.
“If you know a company or manager that wants to learn more about hiring individuals from this program, please contact Dickinson Center,” added Linton. “We’re also currently seeking new Employment Specialists for this program in Elk County.”
To coincide with this year’s observance, the county commissioners in Cameron, Elk and Potter counties are presenting a proclamation during their October meetings. They’re joining DCI and other regional employers in raising awareness about disability employment issues and their commitment to an inclusive work culture.
"Dickinson Center is proud to be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Marsha Dippold, director of Employment Support Services. "We want to spread the important message that we value all perspectives in the workplace, including those of individuals with disabilities. Thank you to our consumers, staff, employers and community supporters for showcasing the success of our program which had an 86 percent job placement rate for our consumers over the past year."
Employment Support Services (ESS) strives to find jobs for people with disabilities that are best suited to the individual’s strengths in Elk, Cameron, McKean and Potter counties. Individuals are provided assistance through the entire job search process, from constructing resumes, practicing interview skills, and applying for jobs. The support continues after being hired until the employee, employer, and employment specialist are all confident that the job can be performed independently.
Additional opportunities are available from Elkwood Arts at DCI, a licensed vocational facility that provides employment and training to disabled adults at different levels of intellectual disability. Products include quality, handmade furniture and wood items.
Learn more about National Disability Employment Awareness Month at www.dol.gov/ndeam.