Morningside can help you solve employment needs in your business. We can design jobs to help your business grow and prosper…and improve employee morale.
Some of the (no-cost) services that we offer include: business analysis and job description proposals, employee recruitment, ADA diversity trainings, job coaching a.k.a. employee training & follow-along support. Email us to schedule your first meeting with one of our Job Developers!
Michael LaGrange, Manager, Port Angeles Safeway (store 1492) is an exemplary leader, employing over 22 individuals with disabilities. He has been recognized by the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment in 2017 with a statewide award for his practice of hiring and supporting individuals with disabilities.
Morningside began its partnership with Safeway in 2004 to provide opportunities for supported employment clients to gain work experience and employment. Mike has employed 22 individuals with significant disabilities, 13 of whom are supported by Morningside. Two of the employees we support have been there for over 14 years.
He is a catalyst for change, recognizing that people with disabilities need a voice and employment, and his voice is strong in recognizing the value and normalcy of individuals with disabilities. Having worked with individuals with disabilities in the past, Michael wasn’t new to the prospect of hiring an individual with a disability, but a chance meeting at a martial arts studio gave him a new outlook in terms of how he viewed individuals with disabilities. Michael met Ryan Brooke (left in picture) competing for his black belt and Ryan indicted he was looking for work. Michael said he enjoyed Ryan and thought he was an affable person. He hired him since he had this great personality and thought he would be a good fit in his store. Other staff reacted by questioning this new person. “It struck me that I had a community of employees that viewed people with disabilities as a liability, that we are doing them a favor. That they are not worth a paycheck, that we are carrying them along”. This strengthened Michael’s resolve to look inside the person not the disability and change the culture of his store. He recognized Ryan as someone who would add value to Safeway and the workforce. He has continued this philosophy as he has hired more and more people with disabilities.
“It opened my eyes to how I work with individuals with disabilities. It opened my eyes to the possibilities, how I perceived peoples potential”, he said. Michael continued, “If you manage a token employee then you are going to get a token performance but if you manage a person and ask them to do their best and get the best out of them then you have a good employee. There is an inherent joy in giving a person with a disability an opportunity that you know wouldn’t be there without you.”
Michael said, “This is a segment of our population that has been neglected and underrepresented in our workforce. They have historically been underutilized, marginalized and minimalized.” Michael is a strong advocate for people with disabilities.
Michael holding the Governor’s award with Governor Inslee
The City of Tacoma Human Resources Department wanted to develop a position similar to the one held by a long time employee at the Utilities Department as an Administrative Aide, and to expand the program to have similar department aides in other City business units. The HR Department wanted to become the pilot. An HR Analyst connected with Heather Evans, Manager of the Pierce County Program to select the right person for the job, and Kelly Kim was the perfect match (see related story). The City of Tacoma wanted to be the lead in what they hope to be a city wide department expansion of hiring individuals with developmental disabilities assisting in important office tasks.
Kelly Kim is instrumental in filing documents in employees’ HR files, an important role in making sure the department has each employees file up to date.
Gary Buchanan, Human Resources Director, said “This is not a hand out – this is people with developmental disabilities benefiting the City. Kelly, it is a delight to have her, but she is fully integrated with the staff and we are the better for it. She participates at our department functions in a meaningful way”, he added. Wendy Hobson, HR Officer Manager, noted that “Kelly takes the initiative” to help other units in the Human Resources department.