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.
Onna’s personality is perfectly summed up by her parents’ nickname for her: Dancing Iron Baby.
“She’d been through so much, but her little feet, as a baby, they were always dancing,” explains her mother Marija. “She was always moving along, pushing.”
But while the nickname is perfect now, it’s one that Marija and her husband might not have imagined at first. Because when Onna was born with a heart condition and Down syndrome, Marija remembers, “The whole experience with the diagnoses is initially very negative. You’re not told, ‘Oh, your child has a Trisomy 21,’” she says in a chipper way. “You’re told,” -- now she shifts her voice to a hushed, ultra-serious tone -- “‘I’m so sorry. Your child has this diagnosis.’ So your expectations are not very high.”
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.
When they learned their daughter Helena would be born with Down syndrome, Lisa and Joe Wasikowski knew they’d face some difficult choices. The one easy choice was to work with Northwest Center Early Intervention.
“Helena was in the NICU, and a social worker handed me a business card with Northwest Center info on it,” Lisa says. “By the time Helena came home from the hospital, we'd already met with our new team in our home and had formed a plan. She started therapy at three weeks old.”
We're passionate about equal rights and full inclusion for people with disabilities. Please share and subscribe!