Incorporating people of all abilities into the work force

October marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The purpose is to educate people contributions of America's workers with disabilities. Black Hills Works has a broad outreach in this area.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Black Hills Works provides services and support to adults with disabilities, serving over 600 individuals. Through their vocational training and employment services, they can provide business customers with a dependable workforce while providing employment for adults with disabilities.

Steve Rossow working at C-Lock

Steve Rossow working at C-Lock

Steve Rossow, a client at Black Hills Works, has been working at C-Lock in Rapid City for over a year. C-Lock builds automated cattle feeders. Steve works in the electronic department but also does other jobs as needed around the shop. His job coach helped him get the part time work which gave him a sense of purpose.

Steve says, “Oh, they are awesome – they’re funny. They think I am a good guy and nice guy.”

Steve says that people who have disabilities should not be overlooked when it comes to employment.

“These people need jobs and they’re just as good as anybody without disabilities.”

Steve Rossow and Colin Murphy at C-Lock

Steve Rossow and Colin Murphy at C-Lock

And his supervisor at C-lock seems to agree, he has partnered with Black Hills Works to bring on 2 staff members and says their energy and enthusiasm rubs off on everyone in the building.

Colin Murphy, Production Manager at C-Lock, says “People say they have disabilities, but I can’t do it. I mean I think that that’s an ability and Steve has done so well on the wiring that we’ve got wires to last us two months.”

Currently, Black Hills Works partners with 60 businesses for customized employment opportunities, including job analysis, application screening and ongoing support – to make sure the employment is a good fit for everyone.

Colin Murphy & Steve Rossow

Colin Murphy & Steve Rossow

Heather Jansen, Black Hills Works Director of Employment Supports, says, “We’re trying to make connections in the community to continue to grow and undo some of the fear-based mythologies that are associated with folks with disabilities, including developmental disabilities. We all come with our own different various ways of being disabled – there is no normal.”

Heather says it’s all about clients developing relationships with their work family and the community.

“It’s a great partnership you have a need we have a need and it is, it’s part of being a community.”

Steve is also a member of the A Team through Black Hills Works.

Black Hills Works with C-Lock

Black Hills Works with C-Lock

If you would like more information on hiring employees from Black Hills Works, click here.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News

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