The issue of Employment was the driving force for the organization of LEO. Our young adults were graduating for the school system and having a very difficult time obtaining employment. As parents, we were determined not to raise adult couch potatoes. Together we empowered each other with ideas and solutions to obtaining employment or day activities for the population with special needs. Today we encourage people to work with the Division of Developmental Disabilities and existing employment vendors to obtain employment services. Volunteer opportunities are another venue for our young people to be involved in the Community.
This is the 7th year that the LEO organization has awarded Employers of the Year. Each year we advertise for people to nominate those employers in Issaquah who go the extra mile in hiring people with disabilities. These employers show a willingness to modify hiring procedures, are flexible with job descriptions, allow employment specialists on site for job coaching, provide a network of support for the individual, as well as initiating the recruitment of individuals who have disabilities. We have three size categories, small, medium and large employers. This year we have one in each category who hired a person with disabilities and has met the criteria. They are:
Sherm's BBQ Bistro - This small business with less than 5 employees has integrated, trained and motivated a person with developmental disabilities into a satisfying work environment. The employee is happy and excited about her work opportunity. Accepting this award for a small business is Kim Ewing.
Providence Marionwood - This medium sized business for years has been the training ground for many people with disabilities in the Issaquah school district transition program. Now four people with disabilities are employed at Providence Marionwood. Accepting this award is Richard Shreder.
Fred Meyer-Issaquah - This large business has been hiring people with disabilities for several years. Corri, the store manager is creative in helping to adapt existing jobs to fit the individual person. She and the other employees are great encouragers and motivators. Thanks to Fred Meyer for hiring people with disabilities Accepting this award is Ms. Debbie Hassler from ATWORK,since Ms. Corri Donaghy from Fred Meyer was not able to be present due to a scheduled vacation.
We appreciate the work of all our other nominees who are employing people with disabilities: Pet Smart, PCC Natural Markets and Larkspur Landing.
Shown from left to right: Kim Ewing from Sherm's Barbeque; Debbie Hassler from ATWORK, representing Fred Meyer; and Richard Shreder, Administrator from Providence Marianwood.