Inclusion: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is an annual campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of NDEAM is to increase awareness about disability employment challenges and to celebrate the many and varied contributions of workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.”

People with disabilities often face significant barriers to employment, resulting in lower rates of participation in the labor force and higher unemployment rates compared to non-disabled workers.

With a history spanning over 50-years, PRIDE Industries (PRIDE) is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities, nationwide. At PRIDE we focus on abilities rather than disabilities and our programs and services help individuals overcome obstacles to employment. Individuals from all walks of life come to PRIDE. We provide opportunities at all skill levels with a ladder of opportunity to help individuals achieve their definition of success and self-sufficiency.

Employment is essential to an individual’s sense of purpose, dignity, inclusion and economic growth, ultimately resulting in a happier life.

By partnering with PRIDE Industries, businesses can leverage its person-centered services including assessments, job skills development, training, placement, transportation, and on-going support to ensure long-term employment success. PRIDE places people in its business lines and provides support to individuals in community-based opportunities.

Won’t you join PRIDE Industries in creating jobs for people with disabilities? Speak to our expert staff by contacting us at info@prideindustries.com.

Labor Day: A Celebration of all American Workers

With a history spanning more than 50 years, PRIDE Industries has been creating opportunities for those most often excluded from employment – people with disabilities. At PRIDE, we know that individuals with disabilities are talented and capable of overcoming obstacles to employment.

Like everyone else, people with disabilities have strengths and skills that contribute to our nation; on Labor Day we celebrate the social and economic accomplishments of all American workers – with and without disabilities. Together, we can chip away at the stubborn statistic that affects individuals with disabilities – they are twice as likely to be unemployed.

Employment is essential to an individual’s sense of purpose, dignity, and inclusion. PRIDE’s programs and services are tailored to serve the needs of the individual to help them achieve their goals.

From all of us at PRIDE Industries – thank you for your contributions to our nation! Have a great and safe Labor Day.

Independence – of a Different Kind


“Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness.” 
— Louis Dembitz Brandeis

Tomorrow, we celebrate Independence Day – Fourth of July. As a nation, we celebrate our freedom, liberties, and independence that we as Americans enjoy.

Independence – of a different kind – is the fuel that keeps PRIDE Industries moving forward. This concept of ‘independence’ can have many different meanings and can be a very personal undertaking for people with disabilities.

PRIDE’s commitment to helping individuals with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment and other obstacles to independence began in 1966. As an organization, we are committed to creating opportunities for people with disabilities – the foundation of independence and a self-sufficient life.

What is independence?

For some, it is complete freedom from the need for, or reliance upon, a program or services. For others, it is merely the ability to participate in and contribute to their community. For each, the catalyst for accomplishing these goals is through employment; a job.

Having a job provides, “social, psychological, and financial benefits that improve health” and make for a happier life. For more information on the benefits of employment and its correlation with one’s health, click here.

Working at PRIDE or with one of more than 250 community partners means gaining the skills needed to achieve greater self-sufficiency.

On Fourth of July and year-round, let’s celebrate the triumphs and achievements of individuals overcoming barriers to employment.

 

From all of us at PRIDE Industries – Happy Independence Day!

Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

“137 years later, Memorial Day remains one of America’s most cherished patriotic observances. The spirit of this day has not changed-it remains a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy.”     — Congressman Doc Hastings

On Memorial Day – Monday, May 28th –  we pause and remember the brave women and men who have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our freedom and fighting for their country.

PRIDE Industries’ mission is to create jobs for people with disabilities – this includes veterans. Our programs and services help veterans with physical, emotional, and mental scars which create obstacles to employment and self-sufficiency. PRIDE also provides opportunities for individuals who have difficulty rejoining the workforce. On this Memorial Day, we welcome our returning veterans and honor our fallen heroes.

To all, a joyful and safe Memorial Day.

A Step Forward

For Blog

With drive and determination, John Almeda works to accomplish his goals; he is thriving at a job that he enjoys and is training towards his dream of competing in the Boston Marathon. John has completed half marathons, 20-mile races and most recently the 2017 California International Marathon (CIM). Despite an injury, he persevered and finished in 4 hours and 27 minutes!

These achievements have not come without challenges; John is on the Autism Spectrum (ASD) and is non-verbal. Around 30 percent of people diagnosed with ASD are considered “non-verbal” according to a study by Boston University; however, some non-verbal individuals can communicate with written or typed language. Furthermore, young adults with autism are less likely to be employed or to be enrolled in higher education than other young adults without autism.

Fortunately, after finishing his high school transition program in 2017, John was referred to PRIDE Industries’ Autism Employment Program. The program trains and places individuals with Autism in the Sacramento, CA region senior care services jobs at Eskaton (a nonprofit community-based senior care organization). Employees serve as companions and aides to residents of long-term care facilities and assist the nursing, dining hall and maintenance staff while receiving support from PRIDE Job Coaches. This is made possible through a collaboration between the California Conservation Corps and the PRIDE Industries Foundation.

John started his job at Eskaton in August 2017. To help him learn job tasks and overcome communication barriers, John was provided training and job support by his mother, Vanessa Bieker and a PRIDE Job Coach, Sandra Ogawa. Soon, he was working independently with little support, serving his customers with his enthusiasm and friendly smile. John is also able to independently take ridesharing services to work.

“John takes great pride in his work and has been given additional responsibilities as his skills have progressed,” says Rehabilitation Services Manager Michelle Anderson.

“With the money that he earns from his job, John is starting to support himself, including purchasing all the specialized clothing and shoes needed for running,” says Vanessa Bieker. “He enjoys his independence and the ability to socialize with his friends at work and is grateful for the opportunity.” We look forward to seeing John grow in his career and eventually reaching his Boston dream. Congratulations!

To learn more about John and his passion for running, watch this video.

https://media.abc10.com/embeds/video/2819052/iframe

April: Autism Awareness Month

For almost 50 years, April has been designated as Autism Awareness Month. A month-long celebration and a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and increase attention to those affected by autism.

What is Autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability. Symptoms typically appear during early childhood and is usually a life-long condition that affects a person’s ability to communicate, socially interact with others and can include repetitive behavior.

Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children are impacted by ASD. Thirty-five percent of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or completed secondary education. Studies have shown that steady employment can help ease symptoms and improve functioning in daily living. Individuals with ASD can often make excellent employees due to their careful attention to detail and quality of work. They just need to be given the opportunity.

How PRIDE Can Help
PRIDE Industries is committed to aiding adults with disabilities lead independent and fulfilling lives – by providing an opportunity, something many take for granted — the chance to be employed and contribute to the community. To learn more about PRIDE’s People Services, click here.

Celebrating Talent: Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. During the month we celebrate the successes of individuals with developmental disabilities. They are our neighbors, friends, family members and coworkers.
Developmental disabilities include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, fragile x syndrome, hearing loss and intellectual disability. Developmental disabilities can cause challenges with physical movement, learning, language and behavior. These disabilities are often diagnosed in early development and typically impact day-to-day activities and last throughout a person’s lifetime.
For over 50 years, PRIDE Industries has created opportunities for those often excluded from the workforce – individuals with disabilities.
At PRIDE, instead of disability – we see unique abilities, and we celebrate accomplishments every day. With some support from PRIDE’s programs and services, individuals can gain meaningful employment and greater independence. Below are a few individuals who were impacted by PRIDE’s mission:

 

Mario: he has taken the skills learned at PRIDE and applied them to his current job in the community.

 

 

Brandon: a young adult who encountered many obstacles while searching for his first job after high school.

 

 

PRIDE Industries employee with disabilities working at Sacramento International Airport

 

Eric: a key member of PRIDEs’ custodial team ensuring that the Sacramento International Airport Terminal B is spotless.

How can you help? Everyone can play a role in helping individuals with developmental and other disabilities join the workforce. Through employment, people with disabilities gain a sense of purpose, dignity, inclusion, and lead more self-sufficient lives.
Join our network of more than 230 community employers who understand that the same qualities that help a person overcome disability challenges, are the same skills most often sought after in the workplace: resilience, determination and persistence in pursuit of a goal. For more information, email us at info@prideindustries.com.

Top 10 of 2017!

Hello 2018 – Happy New Year!

Thank you for your support, we appreciate those who visit, share, and comment on the stories we share through this blog. As 2017 ends, we welcome 2018, and we look back at the posts our readers liked and shared the most throughout 2017.

Below you will find the top ten blog posts published by PRIDE in 2017, based on views, visits and shared stats.




10. Grit, Determination and Motivation





09. Veteran's Salute - David Daniel






08. A Positive Attitude






07. The Journey is Only the Beginning





pride industries employee at fort bliss going up ladder, HVAC tech


06. Macular Degeneration and the Workplace







05. Access to Advance in The Workplace






04. Veteran's Salute - Vernon Alcorn






03. Career After the Military







02. An Opportunity for Advancement






01. Worth the Effort



Again, thank you for your support throughout 2017 and we look forward to sharing many more profiles of employment success in 2018.

 

 

Invisible Disabilities and the Workplace

Autumn dawn in forest

56 million people in the United States have a disability. Some disabilities are more visible than others, especially if the individual relies on a wheelchair or walking cane. But others, known as “invisible” disabilities, are not. People who live with invisible or hidden disabilities also face challenges in the workplace and in their communities, which can make daily living more difficult.

Defining invisible disability:

In simple terms, an invisible disability is a physical, mental or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities and that is invisible to the onlooker. Unfortunately, the very fact that these symptoms are invisible can lead to misunderstandings, false perceptions and judgment. For more information on invisible disabilities, visit: www. invisibledisabilities.org.

According to NPR.org, “It is hard to pinpoint the number of Americans with an invisible disability, but it’s estimated there are millions. Their conditions may range from lupus to bipolar disorder or diabetes. The severity of each person’s condition varies, and the fear of stigma means that people often prefer not to talk about their illnesses.”

Invisible disabilities in the workplace:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that reasonable accommodation be provided by an employer, if necessary, for all people with disabilities, whether hidden or visible. Unfortunately, if a disability is not visible or obvious, often people have difficulty understanding the need for accommodation, and some employees think coworkers are receiving favoritism.

There are myths and negative stereotypes that continue to exclude individuals with disabilities from the workplace despite their willingness and ability to work. For more information on myths and perceptions of hiring people with disabilities, click here.

Disclosing a disability:

In most cases, individuals would choose to disclose a disability to request a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation allows an employee with a disability to do their job. It is the individual’s decision to disclose their disability if he or she can perform the essential job functions without accommodations. To learn more about hidden disabilities in the workplace, click here.

Adding value to the workplace:

Hiring people with – visible or invisible – disabilities is no different than hiring any other job candidate. All new hires need to become familiar with an organization’s management style and workplace culture. Working with agencies serving people with disabilities, including PRIDE Industries, brings the added benefit of comprehensive training and guidance to ensure success for employer, employee and new team members.

Recruiting qualified people with disabilities brings benefits far beyond filling a job opening, including low turnover, reduced training and recruitment costs, and a loyal and committed workforce. A 2007 DePaul University study noted low absenteeism rates and long tenures for workers with disabilities; participating employers described their employees as “loyal, reliable, and hardworking.”

PRIDE Industries published Ability Matters — a free resource guide created for businesses interested in learning more about employing people with disabilities. To download your free copy of Ability Matters, click here.

 

Veteran’s Salute – Vernon Alcorn

While working on an Idaho ranch as a young adult, Vernon Alcorn decided he wanted a larger purpose in life. In 1994, he and a friend both decided to apply to the Idaho National Guard.

“The training was mentally challenging,” said Vernon. “However, I adjusted well and was excited to make the military my career.” After two years in the National Guard, he enlisted in the US Army as part of the 46th Engineer Battalion.

Vernon served 21 years in the Army, advancing from a Private E1 to First Sergeant E8. In 1998, he was sent to his first overseas deployment to Nicaragua for a humanitarian mission. Fast forward to 2003 – Vernon was part of the first army troops sent over for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He later went again for combat operations in 2008 – 2009, as well as to South Korea in 2013 for an operations support position and to a final deployment in Afghanistan in 2014.

Serving in the military gave Vernon an opportunity to become a leader and an effective team builder. His dedication and bravery won him many awards, including two bronze stars. “My proudest moment serving was the day I became a First Sergeant in Afghanistan,” said Vernon. “With this position came the responsibility of commanding 294 soldiers – the height of my career.”

After returning home from Afghanistan, Vernon was on track to become a Sergeant Major but decided to retire in 2015 while stationed in Fort Polk, LA. “I enjoyed my time in the Army and the camaraderie I had with fellow soldiers. However, as my kids got older, I wanted to spend more time with my family.”

Starting a new career at any time presents challenges; this is often compounded when applying military skills to civilian positions. Like many veterans, Vernon struggled with making the career transition between soldier and civilian. “I applied to several jobs with very little luck. Most interviews went downhill after I had mentioned I was in the military. I went from a management position to an entry-level job to help support my family.”

Fortunately, Vernon kept searching for better opportunities and applied for a Quality Control Assistant Manager position at PRIDE Industries’ Fort Polk contract.

“From the start of my interview, I knew that this company was different. My prior work in the military was viewed as a positive aspect rather than something that I needed to hide,” said Vernon. He was hired in 2016 and shortly afterward was promoted to the Forward Operating Base/Range Facilities Manager.

“My job at PRIDE gives me purpose as a civilian,” says Vernon. “The Army never leaves you, and I enjoy being able to support the training on Fort Polk in a civilian capacity. It makes a positive impact on my life being able to work with people with disabilities and see their accomplishments. One of my children has a disability, and I know how important it is to have opportunities to enter meaningful careers with room for advancement.”

In his tenure at PRIDE, Vernon has become a valued team member. His advice for other veterans transitioning from the military is “Be prepared for change – I worked my way to the top and had to start all over again. Understand that a lot of companies won’t know what your job role is or your skills. Go in with an open mind.”