Client Success Stories
CREO Industrial Arts is a fabricator of environmental graphics and custom architectural signage. CREO contacted us after attending our 2013 breakfast to discuss developing a position for an AtWork! client. They had some janitorial needs and possibly some warehouse work.
When AtWork! expended to Snohomish County in July, one of the first clients that came our way was Donald. Donald had been out of work for 3 years, due to a prior layoff . CREO was open to customizing the job for Donald, and he turned out to be their perfect candidate. Donald now works for CREO full time, with benefits and retirement. The CREO owners, managers and co-workers are very happy with Donald’s performance. They have said that “he is a perfect fi t for the job. He is one of the CREO team.”
Donald is determined to do his best job and be able retire from CREO. His next plan is to buy something nice for his wife after all of the years that they struggled to find a new job.
Bob is an Issaquah resident and AtWork! client who came to our workshop more than 15 years ago, straight out of high school. Bob has what some would say are significant challenges – he has quadriplegia, uses a wheelchair, and does not speak verbally. He uses a computer interface, custom-created by his father, to communicate through the use of a head switch on his power wheel chair. Many people would make the assumption, based on Bob’s physical appearance and apparent disabilities, that he would not be capable of, or perhaps even interested in, work. However, Bob is not someone to be hindered by what most people would consider practically insurmountable disability.
Bob has always had an interest in computers and a desire for work. His computer skills have developed over time, and his father, Doug, has been involved in creating interactive programs to meet Bob’s needs. The latest version of Bob’s custom interface has given him the opportunity to work as a volunteer with FISH, at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. Bob has been creating a database for FISH that records information about each presentation made at the hatchery including: the presentation date, the audience (schools, organizations, government groups), the number of participants, etc. This data is being used to design future presentations. In the past, FISH educational staff kept track of these statistics in a handwritten ledger which made it less accessible. Bob’s contribution has very real, practical value to FISH, which has been demonstrated by them recently hiring Bob on in a part-time paid position.
In addition, Bob has secured a second job, with a Washington based call center provider, Direct Interactions. Direct Interactions has hired Bob to do customer service quality reviews of recorded calls. He works from an office in Issaquah, listening to recorded phone calls and answers a series of questions to ensure that Direct Interactions’ customers are receiving the highest level of customer service.
Bob is a true AtWork! success story. Through his determination, the work of his AtWork! Employment Consultant, and the support of his father, Bob has not one but two paid community jobs in the worst economic employment conditions possible.
Ken came to AtWork! after a 16-year career at Siemens, where he had been on a team that was manufacturing ultrasound equipment. When his job was eliminated due to automation, he came to our Packaging & Assembly business, where he has been for more than 10 years.
In that time, Ken has had a number of work trials to try and find him a good fit for another job in the community. He has worked in print shops and at computer stores, but when AtWork! partnered with USArchive & Imaging to create USArchive Powered by AtWork!, his EC saw the perfect opportunity for Ken. He spent several months in a work trial, learning the scanners and other machines. He learned office tasks like filing and sorting, and even learned how to repair and maintain the copiers and scanners.
His EC learned of an opportunity in a local copier company, Copy Tech Inc. Through forming a relationship with their office manager, she learned that Copy Tech had tons of office tasks that the office manager was simply too busy to do. The EC proposed that Ken join the Copy Tech team as an administrative assistant, helping out with the office tasks and building his knowledge of the machinery.
Ken is flourishing at Copy Tech. The stable, routine office environment is perfect for him. He has mastered the complex filing system. He has learned how to handle simple maintenance and repair tasks on the office machines, so the office manager no longer needs to rely on busy techs to repair her machinery. Ken is doing so well that his EC has already faded back to check-ins only, and they are considering expanding his duties into parts and inventory.
This success story shows the value social enterprises bring to AtWork!. By providing people we serve with the opportunity to develop and practice new skills, our social enterprises are giving them valuable experience that they can use to move into integrated employment.