Crossroads of Western Iowa Blog

How Consumers Impact Local Business & the Economy

Posted by Brent Dillinger on Dec 2, 2015 9:14:56 AM

Rebecca, a consumer at Crossroads of Western Iowa, works at a local Culver’s restaurant. There, Rebecca.jpgshe maintains an entry-level position, a type of job that is consistently left vacant. She really enjoys her job, stating, “I am so excited to work in the community and earn money.” Rebecca also contributes to western Iowa’s low unemployment rate. While it varies by county, the region maintains a 2-4% unemployment rate, much less than the national average of 5.1%.

Rebecca’s manager and GM, Rachelle, had some reservations about hiring a CWI consumer because of concerns about the training time that could be involved and when the consumer would be ready to start handling the job responsibilities. All concerns subsided after learning more about the job coaches that are available to the consumer and seeing them in action.

The job developer and coach establishes a relationship with the employer before the consumer is hired. CWI staff work with the employer to determine what position and job duties would be the best fit for both the consumer and employer. After the consumer is hired, the job coach assists the consumer with learning their new job duties and responsibilities. The job coach is available to provide assistance to the employer regarding the consumer’s training process, as well as to identify and arrange reasonable accommodations for the consumer. Rachelle said that Rebecca brings something to the work environment that others do not and she enjoys having her as part of the team.

Tonia, the GM of Penny’s Diner and Oak Tree Inn, feels the same about her CWI consumer brett.jpgemployee Brett, whom she said is like a breath of fresh air. Every day Brett comes to work with a smile on his face. He’s also helped bring back a missing element of the workplace – morale. Tonia never expected to gain so much by employing Brett. Since Brett needs a weekend off each month to visit family, Tonia worked with CWI to bring in Mike as another employee. Tonia commented Mike is also another breath of fresh air, and that both gentlemen walk in every morning ready and willing to work with wonderful smiles, hugs and laughs all day.

Brett and Mike have proven that they are responsible team members and have recently earned the opportunity to work additional hours per week. When Tonia was originally looking for extra help, she reached out to CWI to find out if they had anybody who could help. She wasn’t sure how the process would work, but CWI staff members Stephanie and Corri walked through each step with her. They were able to initially match up Brett – and now Penny’s Diner has two valuable assets on their team from CWI.

Tina, another consumer from CWI, works at Bloom Work Floral. Susie, the owner, said, “I am very Tina.jpghappy with Tina’s work performance and I have been giving her more responsibilities.” Many employers are surprised at the level of responsibility a consumer can handle within their job. At CWI, we’d love to help expose this apparent secret – people with disabilities can offer so many benefits to a company. The level of pride in their work, again typically for entry-level positions, is shown each and every day they come into the workplace.

If you’d like to learn more about employing a person with disabilities, please fill out this quick form. We will explain the process to you, answer your questions and discuss the type of job opportunities you have open. We’d love to match a hard-working individual with your organization.

Topics: supported employment program, employment