Opportunity Partners is proud to celebrate NDEAM

For many people with disabilities, employment is one big step toward independence. Be a part of our conversation using  #NDEAM as we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month this October!

Frank at General Mills

Frank’s dedication, focus and high energy make him the ideal candidate for a mail associate position at General Mills through Xerox.

“My time at General Mills has been awesome since I first started there in 2007 – it has been almost 10 years!” Frank said, adding that he has learned many new tasks over the years. “Working on those projects made me feel like a part of a team and teamwork is what got those projects done.”

Frank originally worked as part of a contracted supported team through Opportunity Partners and in March 2017 he was offered an independent position. “I felt proud,” he said. “It’s awesome. I like the people.”

He knows his job well and thrives in the busy environment where he scans documents, handles mail and packages, and makes deliveries throughout the enormous General Mills campus. Processing 6,000-plus pieces of incoming and outgoing mail each day and roughly 300 packages, on top of countless other duties, Frank moves through his day with speed and precision. “He’s amazing. He does a great job,” said site supervisor Barb Smith.

Frank shows great determination in order to succeed in an independent position, traveling on two city buses two hours each way to get from his home in Eden Prairie to his job in Golden Valley.

Barb says Frank sets a great example for his peers, who look up to him. He serves as a resource to less experienced team members and trains in new hires.

When not working, Frank enjoys superheroes and sports, especially baseball, football and wrestling.

Rochelle at Lunds and Byerlys

For Rochelle, working at Lunds & Byerlys brings an opportunity to showcase her skills while connecting with the community. “I like the people and managers and customers,” she said. “I see people I know from church and the community.”

Rochelle has been a proud Lunds & Byerlys employee for 20 years, first at the St. Louis Park store and now at the 50th Street Edina location. She attributes her amazing longevity to liking her job and the people she encounters each day, from co-workers to customers.

She works a variety of tasks from carrying out and bagging groceries to cleaning in her 23-26 hours each week. She even placed third in a bagging contest at her store.

“I like this job because I meet new people,” Rochelle said. “I’m dedicated. I give the customers what they want.” When she’s not working, Rochelle enjoys traveling and softball. Congratulations, Rochelle, on your hard work and dedication!

We would also like to salute Lunds & Byerlys for being such a strong partner of ours over the years. Many individuals served by Opportunity Partners have experienced employment success at Lunds and Byerlys across the Twin Cities. Thank you, Lunds & Byerlys!

Greg at McDonald’s

For many folks at Opportunity Partners – Karlins Center, being independently employed in the community is a dream. Nearly 11 months ago, Greg was the first to turn that dream into reality by getting a job as a Dining Room Attendant at McDonald’s. Service Coordinator Vicki Knott calls him a trailblazer, “We are very proud of him. He’s handled this like a champ.”

Before landing his job at McDonald’s, Greg had worked on several Supported Employment Teams (SETs) as well as on the production floor at Karlins. He worked with Opportunity Partners Job Developer, Carol Glazer to put in an application. Minutes after his interview started, he was hired! He now works four hours, two days a week.

At first, Greg’s only responsibility was cleaning the dining room tables. After proving himself to his managers, they gave him more responsibilities, including working the fryer!

Greg says his favorite part about his job is being able to make his own money. It helps him pay for rent in his apartment that he lives in on his own! One day, Greg hopes he can move into a bigger apartment, maybe with roommates.

Being the first person at Karlins to get an independent job is a big deal! Greg says that he hopes he can be an inspiration to others adding, “I want people to know that it’s amazing and that other people can do it as well as I can.”

In his free time, Greg enjoys bowling, watching reality television, talking to his parents on the phone and staying involved with church.

David at Cub Foods

Several years ago, David was motivated and passionate about getting an independent, community job. He started working with Opportunity Partners’ Job Development team. David put in a lot of hard work toward developing his resume and practicing interviewing. Eventually he landed a job at Cub Foods doing maintenance.

Before getting his independent job, he took part in the janitorial Certified Learning Platform (now called Career Learning Pathways). There he fine-tuned his cleaning skills and learned how to use industrial cleaning equipment. At Cub, he is part of the janitorial staff, answering maintenance calls for the whole store. David has worked in janitorial at Cub for over two years and loves it so much, he does not plan on transferring any time soon.

David works eight hours, three days a week. Working independently has helped David become more independent at home. He currently lives in his own apartment, a place he has called home for over three years. David says it feels good to be independently employed. “Being able to make my own money is phenomenal,” he says. “I’m paying my bills, paying my rent and keeping my lights on.” He plans on going to the Minnesota Twins spring training in Florida next summer.

“I want to tell people looking to get a job to be yourself, be polite and be respectful,” David says. “That will get you really far, far enough to get a job.”