Seattle’s swaths of downtown real estate are looked after by Debbie, who manages the janitorial teams responsible for the upkeep of government institutions housed in historic office buildings and modern skyscrapers.
Northwest Center Partners with Tech Neighbor to Establish National Model of Inclusion
By Sarah Rothman
Director, Project Inclusion
Being located in one of the quickest-growing tech centers in the world, Northwest Center cherishes the opportunity to partner with our forward-thinking neighbors. Our employment team is proud to be working on a sustainable, long-term relationship with one of the largest tech companies in Seattle. Building off of a pilot program in 2015, the long-term objective of the partnership with Northwest Center is to attract and retain a part-time driven and diverse workforce. By developing an inclusive, broad staffing network, we are placing people with disabilities who are looking for part-time opportunities in independent, competitive employment.
Expanding Inclusive Work Environments Across County Lines
By Taryn Farley
Manager, Employment Services
2016 was a year of growth throughout all Northwest Center departments. Taryn Farley and Alex Diseth, the Community Employment Services Managers, assumed full leadership of the job development team in August with goals geared towards long-term growth. Both managers have worked at Northwest Center for nearly five years and have experience in the disability field beyond their tenure at Northwest Center. Taryn and Alex have their eyes set on staff retention through quality training aimed towards getting more people into jobs!
With new leadership and a growing team, we are poised to increase our existing services in King County and are now certified to expand our services statewide. Our first order of business is to begin expansion into the adjacent counties of Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap. Expansion efforts have already begun in Snohomish County, with relationships being built out of the Lynnwood Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Office.
Celebrating a Year of Inclusive Work
By Lindsay MacCary
Looking back on 2016, the School-to-Work team is proud to reflect upon a successful year! In 2016 our team of four employment consultants served 22 students from schools spanning King County, all the while diligently collaborating with students, teachers, families and other members of support networks on the journey to best understand students’ strengths, interests and support needs.
More than a century old, Starbucks Center (formerly the Sears, Roebuck & Co. building) is a buzzing hub of retail, office, warehousing, and manufacturing activities. Each day, thousands of Seattleites drive by the iconic building, now home to one of the world’s most iconic brands. And behind the scenes of this two million square-foot, 17-acre operation is Brandon, who prides himself on keeping the facility as beautiful as it has been for the past 100 years.
The employees at Brown & Brown Insurance would like you to throw out any preconceived notions about working with people who have a developmental disability.
“You might automatically assume that, because they have a disability, that they’re unable to do the job,” says Account Executive Suzie Darst. “Out the window!” she exclaims. “Totally not the case. Not at all.”
She knows, because she’s worked with two colleagues hired through Northwest Center: Angelica, who works as an administrative assistant and manages the Brown & Brown Facebook page; and Steven, a young man with degrees in both English and Computer Science, who was hired to build the company’s website.
Last year, Luke Madsen, Managing Director at Northwestern Mutual Bellevue, was impressed when Zach asked for more work to do in his job as data entry assistant. Well, Zach got his wish: he now tracks the daily activity of an entire fleet of insurance advisors.
“I help the first- or second-year financial advisors keep track of the people they call,” Zach explains.
“In our business, you have to make a certain number of phone calls, you need to meet with a certain number of people,” says Luke. “Zach has a system that he plugs all the information into.”
The Electronetics Problem-Solver: If Lawrence Doesn't Have the Right Tool for the Job, He Makes His Own
You could call him MacGyver. Like the early ’90s TV character, 19-year-old Lawrence has made innovative, time-saving tools out of household objects like empty soup cans and AA batteries ever since he was a child. But instead of thwarting secret plots against the US Government, Lawrence uses his skills to solve business problems for his employers at Electronetics, LLC.
For some, it can take a lifetime. But for Larissa, finding the job of her dreams came just a year after joining the workforce.
“I. Love. This. Job. I’ve loved it ever since my first volunteering day,” she says, seated in a classroom at the Easter Seals Washington Child Development Center. It’s a place Larissa has volunteered for six years because she loves working with kids, but where she officially became an employee in July. She’s now a support teacher at Easter Seals Washington, assisting classroom leads with supervising and attending to the children’s daily activities.
He benches 400 pounds and has his eye on the world record. He spends his weekends at church teaching kids about personal health, and his work week at the Pacific Science Center gaining job skills. He’s got a big heart and even bigger aspirations for his future.
His name is Tevin, and two years ago, he called himself “a shy guy” with a speech impediment and a goal to one day become a full-time personal trainer. These days, he’s quite comfortable speaking to the large crowds who attend movies at the Pacific Science Center’s IMAX Theater or shows at the Laser Dome, and his progress toward personal training certification is right on track.
Jacob is more than just an employee at Cafe 50, a restaurant and coffee shop on the Microsoft campus; he’s an Ambassador. The job title is printed on his uniform apron, and he points to it proudly.
“He has a huge sense of pride,” says his mother Jeanette. “It’s his first real, paying job. He has a uniform. He’s treated like just another member of the team.”
Jacob got his job busing trays and tidying tables at Cafe 50 through School to Work, a program where Northwest Center works with students in King County graduating from their high school transition program, helping them find a place in the workforce. According to Northwest Center Transition Services Manager Melanie Cates, both Microsoft and Compass Group, the company that manages the cafe, have greatly boosted their inclusive hiring efforts.
Sitting at Craig’s work station is a small notebook, filled with dates and numbers dating back to 2005. Craig, a page assistant at the King County Library System’s Shoreline branch, has kept a tally of his productivity during every shift for nearly a decade -- making note of how many books he is able to assess and shelve during his three-hour shifts. Today, he has re-shelved 411 books -- nearly one book every 20 seconds.
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