We have programs throughout the state that help individuals of all abilities build increasingly rich, independent lives in the communities they call home.
REM Ohio Embodies
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
October 8, 2012
OHIO – President Obama signed a proclamation on October 1, recognizing the month of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The month is dedicated to recognizing the many contributions of Americans with disabilities and raising awareness about the challenges these workers face in finding meaningful employment. President Obama’s proclamation states, “During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we recognize the indispensable contributions people with disabilities make in our economy and recommit to building a country where each of us can realize the full extent of our dreams.”
The purpose behind this year’s theme—“A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?”—is to make an impact on employers’ hiring strategies and call attention to the benefits of employing individuals of all abilities. REM Ohio is an organization that prides itself on its employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we’re recognizing the efforts made by the individuals and staff of our supported employment programs which greatly benefit the individuals we serve and the community.
A Fresh Start
A group of workers that fits into this year’s Awareness Month theme is one operating A Fresh Start Laundry in the city of Hamilton. These adults from REM Ohio have an opportunity to learn how to manage their own business by running a pick-up and drop-off laundry service facility. REM Ohio’s job coaches provide ongoing education, support and assistance to ensure laundry is handled in a quality and professional manner. Each employee earns a paycheck and benefits from gaining real work experience and recognition for a job well done. In addition, individuals like Vince, Rico and Sheeketa, have helped A Fresh Start Laundry provide a valuable service to the community.
Taking to the web to provide services for the community and to learn about e-commerce are individuals from REM Ohio’s Virtually Everything program in Cincinnati. With the support of job coaches, program participants run their own eBay store and handle everything from product inventory and pricing to using software for writing item descriptions, as well as shooting and uploading pictures. In addition, they partner with other adults REM Ohio serves to promote their services and sell their products online. The store features everything from REM Ohio clothes and bags to services provided by a landscaping crew of REM Ohio employees and gift certificates to A Fresh Start Laundry.
Some of the hottest items on the store, though, are several products constructed by “The Crew” woodworking team from the Opportunities Center in Akron. This group of skillful handymen and handywomen has handcrafted items such as wooden swings, picnic tables and Corn Hole boards (for the popular backyard game). All items constructed by “The Crew” are made from kiln-dried, quality-grade wood that can be finished in a variety of color selections. Both the individuals in “The Crew” and those running the Virtually Everything eBay store have been able to learn new skills, gain confidence, and get competitive employment experience.
Partnerships for Real-world Experience
Through the years, REM Ohio has been able to partner with employers in the community who have given the individuals we serve valuable employment experiences. Recently, the Walgreens Distribution Center in Perrysburg has been a hub for REM Ohio participants to learn a variety of job responsibilities and the value of earning a paycheck. Approximately 20 individuals REM Ohio supports are employed at the distribution center. They perform tasks such as janitorial duties, bailing cardboard and plastic, cleaning totes, source tagging, and loading trucks. Last year, REM Ohio was recognized at the Ohio Public Images awards luncheon for their partnership with Walgreens and ongoing commitment to helping individuals with disabilities find employment. Working together, Walgreen’s and REM Ohio have provided individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to grow and develop the skills needed to successfully work in the community.
Support for Employment
REM Ohio and its national partner, The MENTOR Network, believe that employment is vital to independence, empowerment and quality of life. We’ve been able to help more individuals prepare for and gain employment through our new Ready2Work program, which helps adults facing employment barriers find meaningful work that matches their interests and helps fulfill their goals and financial needs.
The steps that have been taken with Ready2Work, as well as those with A Fresh Start Laundry, the Virtually Everything eBay store, “The Crew” woodworking team, and the partnership between REM Ohio and the Walgreens Distribution Center, have all embodied the theme: “A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?”
“Our goal is to obtain as much information as we can about an applicant’s skills and the kind of work they want,” REM Ohio Executive Director Carla Parker said. “Once we have a match between an applicant and employer, we assist the applicant in obtaining updated or additional training specific to the needed work tasks for their chosen job.”
If you are an employer and would like to discuss the possibility of providing employment to an individual with disabilities, please call us at or 513-878-8188 or visit our website.