Vital need sparked a new approach to inclusive early learning
Katrina Caron, Director of Early Learning at Northwest Center’s Chinook location, gets the calls all the time.
“Parents will have a child with a special need and they can’t find care anywhere. Or their child is going to be kicked out of their preschool. Or the current school is not meeting their child’s needs. I have to say, ‘I’m really sorry, but I have to put you on our waitlist’ when we can’t take more children.”
“One, two, three, edge-to-edge, edge-to-edge. One, two, three, edge-to-edge, edge-to-edge.” Glenda’s table wiping process is precise—each table cleaned with unparalleled focus and care.
Glenda works at Red Robin in Renton, where she gets the restaurant ready for the day before opening—a job that she, her managers, and her job coaches agree is a perfect fit. Glenda has been at the job for a little over seven months, gaining confidence by proactively adding new responsibilities and even taking on another shift on Saturdays.
Benefit to raise $100,000 to launch pioneering Inclusion Team
Derby fashions, a fast-paced live auction, and the opportunity to raise much-needed funds to benefit Northwest Center Kids’ mission of inclusive education all come together at The Derby, Saturday, April 28 from 6-10 p.m. This premier fundraiser for Northwest Center takes place this year at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University Street, downtown Seattle.
The hotel’s elegant Spanish Ballroom is the setting for an evening of Kentucky Derby-inspired fun and frivolity for a cause. Every dollar raised will help Northwest Center Kids launch a brand new, pioneering program that will bring inclusive early learning to kids throughout the region.
Erika’s first few shifts at Amazon Prime Now warehouse had their challenges. The pace was hectic, she was negotiating a scanning system, and she was navigating a dizzying assortment of quadrants and aisle numbers. Several times, Northwest Center job coaches found her wandering an aisle, saying she was lost.
But if you asked Erika how the shift went, she was all smiles. “It was a good day today,” she would say. “I learned a lot!”
That unwavering optimism gave Northwest Center and Prime Now management confidence that Erika would get the hang of things. And it didn’t take long for their faith to be rewarded.
We’re well into 2018, and the momentum continues to build here at Northwest Center. There isn’t enough space to mention all our successes, so I’ll highlight just a few.
Our Early Intervention and Early Learning teams served a record number of kids in 2017 (770!) and are well on their way to surpass that number this year. We’ll soon launch an Inclusion Team to train other preschools to provide inclusive early learning education and support, while our new autism program (EPIC: expanding play, interaction, and communication) will complement the services we already provide.
Ruby and Trevin put their aisles together so well that their job coach hates to see a product leave their “work of art aisles.”
Recently Job Developers in the Omak office adopted a new team motto. Developers are out to achieve the “Triple Win” where job seekers, employers, and the job developer all hit the tape at the end of the race at the same time.
Ruby and Trevin both were hired in June to do similar jobs, but typical of the area covered by Northwest Center in Omak, these jobs are both quite a distance from the Omak Office. They, and their job developer, and two different employers are celebrating “Triple Wins.”
A growing number of individuals, organizations, and for-profit companies are recognizing the many benefits of a diverse workforce. Studies show that inclusion benefits the entire workplace with better morale, efficiency, and consumer reviews; and we know from over fifty years of first-hand experience that employing people with disabilities is good for business. The strategies outlined below are designed to enhance inclusion in the workplace for employees of all ages and all skill levels.
Charles has spent this year showing his team at Puget Sound Laundry Services he has what it takes to get the job done, and then some! A longtime Northwest Center Employment Services participant, Charles has previously worked in document shredding at American Data Guard, on a supported work team at the Bank of America Building, and in Northwest Center’s Assembly & Packaging division.
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