Work program for disabled is a win-win

Workplaces like Starr Manufacturing in Vienna, 3 Color Embroidery in Warren and even Jib Jab Hot Dog Shoppe in Girard have stepped up to take part in programs that provide critical job training and employment skills for the disabled in our area.

The program, a partnership between Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities Direct Link and area businesses, should be recognized for not only the physical training, but also for the emotional lift that it gives to numerous disabled adults in Trumbull County.

Milton Ramos, a 29-year-old disabled Warren man, offers a good example of what these opportunities can mean to members of our community.

Ramos recently described his job at Jib Jab Hot Dog Shoppe as “the best thing that has ever happened to me.” He added, “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

And on the other side of the coin, Starr Manufacturing plant manager Michael Patton expressed his enjoyment at providing opportunities for the developmentally disabled. Patton said he wants those who work at his company to cross train and develop skills that they can use to advance themselves.

“We want him to be able to be the best that he can be and provide him with the chance to advance,” Patton said.

Direct Link partners with local businesses to provide employees for current job openings the businesses have. An assessment is completed before a worker is “partnered” with a business, and typically, the workers have previously attended Fairhaven’s workshops or school.

During the completion of the assessment or training process, TCBDD covers the wages, liability insurance and workers’ compensation premiums for the worker on behalf of the business. It also provides a job coach.

Once an individual is hired by a business, his or her wages, workers’ compensation and liability insurances become the business’ responsibility.

The program is a win-win situation, and we applaud those that envisioned and created it, along with the agencies and employers that have jumped on board to better our society.

Other employers listed by the Community Employment Manager of TCBDD and Direct Link coordinator for their involvement in the program include: Ace Hardware; Creative Learning Workshop; CVS; DelliQuadri Landscaping; Dillard’s; Falmers Manufacturing; Giant Eagle; Homes for Kids; Kmart; Knightline Embroidery; Kundel Industries; Laddie’s Grill; McDonald’s; Mowing Service; Northwood Golf Course; O’Charley’s; Old Country Buffet; Old Navy; Olive Garden; Taco Bell; Things Remembered; Tribune Chronicle; Venture Plastics; Vernon’s; V2; Wal-Mart; and Warren Baking company.