Electronetics, a division of Northwest Center, Showcases Custom Magnetic Solutions at APEC 2018 (Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition)
Our team had a productive week attending APEC 2018 – The Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition – on March 4-8 in San Antonio, TX. As first-time exhibitors, we were immediately engaged by the variety of activities and professional training sessions made available to attendees.
On the exposition floor, we had a wonderful time meeting with customers, strengthening partnerships, showing off our capabilities, and checking out the competition. Our booth, which was strategically located next to the food and beverage area, was fully decked out with new signage, a variety of sample parts, fun giveaways, and, of course, free candy bars.
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.
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.
Mihret is a Top Performer
While to some, top performer may seem like a minor achievement, for many people with disabilities their whole lives have passed without ever being recognized for their contribution.
When a new shift begins, associates clock in and head to “Stand Up,” an area of the warehouse where managers go over daily announcements and celebrate top performers in front of their coworkers. For Mihret, who has worked for just over six months, Stand Up became a goal from day one.
Mihret, born in Ethiopia, is deaf yet does not know American or Universal Sign Language. English is her second language and this makes communication and connection difficult for her. Yet in June 2017, Mihret came into work and saw her name, written in big green letters. Mihret was awarded top performer. Two days later, Mihret achieved her goal yet again. In fact, that day, three out of the four top performer awards were given to associates placed by Northwest Center, all with diagnosed disabilities.
Special Olympics Soccer Team Issaquah Spirit to Represent WA State at Summer 2018 USA Games
Coach Mike Quinn is Northwest Center VP of Business Development
Northwest Center is proud to announce that the Issaquah Spirit, a Special Olympics soccer team coached by Northwest Center VP of Business Development Mike Quinn, has been selected to represent Washington State at the summer 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, July 1-6, 2018 in Seattle.
The program that Northwest Center Early Supports for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) has pioneered in collaboration with the University of Washington Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (UW NICU) is not only making a huge impact on families whose babies are beginning life in the UW NICU; it’s also making one statewide.
Our 2017 Golden Hearts Luncheon raised money for a more inclusive working world. Host Dennis Bounds, former King 5 news anchor, kept things lively as he shared success stories like that of Devin, who found his career through Northwest Center School-to-Work. Devin’s story was captured on video and shared at the event by featured speaker Chris Ulmer of Special Books by Special Kids, whose popular videos of conversations with children and adults with disabilities were an event highlight.
Another Home-Grown Innovation that Delivers: Partnerships to Benefit the Local Community
By Gene Boes, President & CEO, Northwest Center
Value Village & Northwest Center
Few regions have seen as much change in recent years as the Pacific Northwest. A technology-driven boom has propelled growth in the Puget Sound region, with Seattle earning the status of fastest-growing city and undisputed construction crane capital in the nation.
Stephan knows a thing or two about dancing in the rain. An avid hip-hop dancer, Stephan enjoys every day as a Donations Station Attendant for The Big Blue Truck™, no matter if there are sunny skies or some of our Pacific Northwest mist.
While Stephan is a happy, vital member of The Big Blue Truck™ team, it took some trial and error to find the job where he could excel. A member of the School-to-Work (S2W) program, Stephan was actively preparing himself for employment opportunities before he graduated from high school. It took some job coaching and training, but when Stephan saw the people in the Big Blue Truck™ he knew he wanted to join in.
Dear Northwest Center Community:
I am honored to be the new CEO of Northwest Center, to lead and serve a world class team in our mission “to promote the growth, development, and independence of people with disabilities through programs of education, rehabilitation, and work opportunity.”
Each of us has talents, gifts and potential, and deserves the opportunity to engage and contribute. When society values diverse perspectives, honors all abilities and allows everyone the opportunity to contribute, that society is working at its best and will help the world achieve its collective potential. I am reminded daily of the importance of inclusion through my eyes as a parent. My daughter, Tori, is 24 years old, loves horseback riding, listening to music, shopping, and going out to restaurants…and has Autism. Tori has helped mold me into the person I am today and contributes to my success in immeasurable ways. But her opportunities to engage in our community are limited.
At Northwest Center, inclusion is at our core and we envision a fulfilling future for everyone. Our founding parents insisted that everyone deserves the opportunity to realize their fullest potential and we continue to honor their philosophy today. Now in our 52nd year, Northwest Center provides early intervention and inclusive learning for children, and employment services for individuals with disabilities. We employ people of all abilities in our Social Enterprise, with over 40% of the 950 people on our payroll self-identifying with a disability.
I am humbled to be part of an organization that refuses to allow anyone to be overlooked, mislabeled, marginalized, or denied the opportunity to engage and contribute.
Thank you for everything you do to support Northwest Center. Your partnership is what makes this possible.
Onward and Upward,
What is something special about you?
Though sometimes difficult to answer, Chris Ulmer asks this question to nearly everyone he interviews. Ulmer, a special education teacher turned an internationally renowned speaker, travels the globe interviewing people with disabilities. His goal is to not tell their stories, but to give them the opportunity to tell their story themselves.
Northwest Center is the recipient of Value Village’s 50 Year Partnership Award. Since 1967, we have had a long-term partnership with Value Village to collect clothing and household donations with our iconic Big Blue Trucks and blue donation bins. Value Village buys that merchandise to sell in its stores, and the revenue Northwest Center receives funds education and employment programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities in WA State.
Trevor Pacelli grew up in Sammamish, Washington and was diagnosed with a form of autism at age 5. As a child, he published drawings in two children’s magazines and illustrated a children's book at age 15, written by his sister Briana Pacelli, “The Kindergarten Adventures of Amazing Grace." an autism awareness book. At 19, he wrote a book in the "Six-Word Lessons" series to help people with autistic children in their families understand how an autistic person really thinks and feels. He is a graduate of Arizona State University in Film and Media Studies. Trevor recently joined the team at Northwest Center in July 2017.
Trevor shares his journey to gaining employment at NWC and his experience with workforce inclusion.
As an individual on the autism spectrum who has gone through several interviews over the years, I could tell you a lot about my long, endless job search. While confidence wavered on when or if I would find a job in key moments of my life, my jobs across the last five years served to teach me plenty of useful skills, as well as some important wisdom about workforce inclusion.
Northwest Center’s Got Talent
Written by: Amy & Connor Doran
Edited by: Jennifer Owen
It started as a hobby. Pulling a string, defying gravity with every twist and turn of his body, Connor Doran knows how to fly a kite. He enjoyed gliding his kite through the crisp Washington air, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he thought to share his talents with the rest of the country.
For Northwest Center Integrated Facility Services, Cleaning Means Better Business Practices
By: Tracee Christie
Writers: Jennifer Owen
Tracee, Senior Area Manager at Integrated Facility Services (IFS), has been with Northwest Center for 15 years and knows what it takes to succeed. From working long hours to personally inspecting with her teams the 1.6 million square feet of property she manages; Tracee knows that hard work and proper management leads to successful teams.
Written by: Wendy Heddrick & Jackie Fountain
Edited by: Jennifer Owen
Innovation blossoms in environments that embrace diversity. At Argus, the female-run janitorial service defies the traditional insular, male dominated profession with a workforce largely consisting of women, minorities, and people of all abilities. We sat down with General Manager Jackie and Senior Manager Wendy to learn about their model of inclusive employment and all the strides Argus is making in the Pacific Northwest.
Northwest Center and Value Village Celebrate 50 years in 2017
By Denise Small
Senior Director, Big Blue Truck
In 1967, just two years after our founding, Northwest Center entered into a partnership with Value Village. We collect clothing and household donations with The Big Blue Truck™ and The Blue Bin. Value Village buys that merchandise to sell in its stores, and the revenue funds our education and employment programs. The innovative “social business” model was decades ahead of its time. Today, the partnership is stronger than ever, collecting state wide.
Northwest Center’s business relationship with Value Village has been the foundation of our entire philosophy of change, which is to use business to create social good. Now the world is embracing the business value of diversity at unprecedented scale, thanks in part to this breakthrough that started 50 years ago right here in Seattle.
We know that workplaces benefit the more diverse they become, but the number of unemployed people with disabilities highlights how much change is yet to come. If you or your organization are interested in hiring individuals with disabilities, consider the following advice and tips to find the right employee.
Looking to explore something new this weekend? Check out our list of family friendly activities based throughout the Seattle metro area!
Know of other goings-on? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!
Modes of communication consistently evolve, with technology serving as a catalyst. New assistive technology is focusing on ways to facilitate communication for people who are non-verbal or have difficulties expressing themselves verbally. Whether reading brain waves or offering quick expression sharing options, tech ventures are a driving force behind innovative ways to democratize communication.
Northwest Center is passionate about equal rights, anti-ableism, and full inclusion for people with disabilities. Thank you for reading.