Just the right match

At Trillium, we’re dedicated to matching the right company with the right employee. So far in 2015, we have made 146 matches. The job seekers came from various backgrounds and were equipped with a wide variety of skills, talents and interests. Equally as diverse were the businesses that hired. The most recent list of employers includes two distributors, one in pet foods and one in snowboards and skis, two print and marketing producers, and two public sector organizations.

Too often, supported employment is seen as being ideal for only a small assortment of industries and job types. Just the opposite is true; we are hard pressed to find a business where we couldn’t find a labor gap that could be filled by a supported employee. All it takes is uncovering workflow or labor constraints that are getting in the way of the business running at 100% in production, customer service, and staffing efficiency.  Luckily, we’re the experts. Trillium employment consultants excel at identifying tasks and responsibilities perfectly suited for the right supported employee. Best of all, our services are free, so the business has nothing to lose, and everything to gain with their next great hire.

Recent Highlights:

  • The Kitsap Sun featured South Kitsap School District using Trillium to source talent from its own graduate pool.
    • “It’s been a win-win so far for our school,” Principal Paul Hulbert said. “We’re getting our needs met. Our students are learning to work with diversity and vice versa.”…

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      King County Executive Dow Constantine was the featured speaker at the recent Rotary Club Partners for Work event.

  • Trillium’s Executive Director, Trish Borden was recognized at a recent event for her pioneering efforts with Rotary Club’s Partners For Work. This project has led to more than 50 job placements, a great witness to the power of community organizations partnering for common good.
  • Two new employment consultants, Michele Hernandez and Rachel Torell, were welcomed to the team in King County.
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National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2015

Trillium had quite an October, celebrating 2015’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Over a dozen businesses who partner with Trillium were publicly recognized. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for our new Pierce County office. Trillium was highlighted in four newspaper articles, one in each county we serve. Famed Executive Director Trish Borden announced her retirement and successor. Three new employment consultants were added to the team. It was a busy month.

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Kitsap Program Manager Heidi Scheibner takes a photo with Mark Shaefer, Managing Partner of Hop Jacks

Every year Trillium seeks to recognize employers who work with us that go above and beyond the call of duty with regards to inclusive employment. We nominate businesses for awards sponsored by regional organizations in addition to our own local awards. We were thrilled to see four of our employers were winners of the regional awards. Hop Jack’s, a locally-owned restaurant chain, was given the Governor’s 2015 Large Private Employer of the Year award for their work in fostering an inclusive workforce and advocating on its benefits.  The City of Auburn won the Public Sector employer of the year with the Community Employment Alliance. At a celebration event held in Clark County, Ryonet Corporation was named the Innovative Employer of the Year, and PeaceHealth was chosen as the Employer of the Year.

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From top left, Jimmy Johns, Azteca, Trappers Sushi; second row from left McDonalds, MOD Pizza, Port Orchards Elementary; bottom from left Applebees, Comprehensive Life Resources

Trillium produced their own award for businesses in King, Kitsap and Pierce counties: Excellence in Employment 2015. This year’s theme was to celebrate the businesses that had a record of consistently maintaining an inclusive workforce. In King County, Trapper’s Sushi, Azteca Mexican Restaurants, and Taco Time Restaurants were given the award. Out of Kitsap County Jimmy John’s, Fred Meyer, South Kitsap School District and Port Orchard Elementary School were honored. The team in Pierce County selected Applebee’s, McDonald’s, Comprehensive Life Resource Center, MOD Pizza, and Ikea Distribution Center. Each of award winners were presented with a plaque during an award ceremony located at one of each of their respective locations.

Pierce Team Program Manager Jenna Ziegler ready to officially cut the ribbon

Pierce Team Program Manager Jenna Ziegler ready to officially cut the ribbon

On October 27, Trillium hosted an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony at our new Pierce County office in Puyallup. The office was packed with dozens of people including clients and their families, public officials, partnering agencies, the Puyallup school district, and other members of the business community. The President and CEO of the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce oversaw the ribbon cutting ceremony, and the Mayor of Puyallup participated as well. Though the office has been operational since the spring, the ribbon cutting was an important step in solidifying our brick and mortar presence in the community. The Pierce team has been serving businesses and job-seekers in Pierce County for 10 years so it was prepared for a local office.

Several newspaper articles gave a great spotlight to local employers that have hired employees with disabilities. Trillium loves the recognition they receive for creating an inclusive workforce!

  • Kitsap Business Journal ran a press release written by Employment Consultant Jaymie Heberlein. The release highlighted stories of local employers like the South Kitsap School District advocating for supported employment’s benefits to their organization.
  • The Columbian newspaper published an article reporting on the local National Disability Employment Awareness Month Celebration, announcing the honors given to two businesses we partner with, as well as showcasing two of our individual clients.
  • The Auburn Reporter featured several businesses in the Kent Station shopping center that benefit from supported employment.
  • The Puyallup Herald captured the Ribbon Cutting event and the services we offer businesses.
Assitant Director Karen Williams, left, with Trish Borden, Trilliums Executive Director

Assitant Director Karen Williams, left, with Executive Director Trish Borden, right

Trish Borden, Trillium’s renowned Executive Director of 29 years, formally announced her retirement at the end of 2015. In the letter she expressed her appreciation for the Trillium staff and the opportunity she has had working in this important field. She also remarked on the growth Trillium has experienced under her leadership, stating that when she started there were all of three staff members and one office; there are now over 50 staff members working out of four offices. Of the experience she says, “I have gained so much wisdom through this work and my life has been rich with knowing that we are making and will continue to make an impact.” Her efforts will be remembered fondly by staff and the community for which she dedicated her career. Also in the letter, Trish announced that she will be succeeded by Karen Williams, who is currently serving as Trillium’s Assistant Director.

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Communications Coordinator Jay Hamann

Trillium’s Team continues to grow. Three new employment consultants joined the team, one for each of the Kitsap, King and Pierce offices. The Kitsap County team welcomed Katie Burtoft, the 13th member of that group. Olivia Pomata, once a part-time Job Coach, has now been added to the ranks of her fellow Employment Consultants in King County. The King County office now sits at 24 employees. Makynlie Jeffers joined the Pierce County team, bringing that office’s current roster to 11. These additions follow two other hires earlier in the year, Jay Hamann as Trillium’s new Communications Coordinator and Laura Stewart as an Employment Consultant in Clark County.

It was certainly an exciting October, and we thank you for your continued support in promoting inclusive community and employment opportunities.

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Hiring the Best Millennials

We are lucky at Trillium to have millennials on our team.  They bring a tech-savvy and collaborative spirit to support our work. For all companies, its important to know what matters to this generation, because they will be 50% of our workforce by 2020. You don’t want to miss out on attracting great talent to grow your company.

Here are three things that attract millennials to a company:images

1. Non-monetary perks. Like good vacation benefits and flexible schedules that provide work-life balance.

2. Avenues to apply their talents and passions. Open opportunities for them to develop creative solutions to a challenge or generate a new strategy to accelerate outcomes.  They will work hard for what matters and lets them shine.

3. Diverse Workforce. This generation is way beyond multicolored faces on a company website. They value diverse thinking, backgrounds, and approaches to work–this is why they love collaboration. They have grown up in an internet community, so they are familiar with and embracing of difference which will be an asset to your company.

Including people with intellectual disabilities into your workforce is one way to create genuine diversity for your teams.  Trillium can help your company figure out the best way to bring in an employee who will fill a gap in your workflow and position your company to be a top place to work.

 

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Sathi Sansar = Friend World

Yesterday we learned that Sathi Sansar will be moving to a new location at the end of this week. Today we spent time touring the new school as well as a temporary location until the road is built to the new school to make it accessible to students and teachers. Luni, the Director of Sathi Sansar expressed the many transitions coming up in the near future are something that are keeping her very busy. Luni explained to us that the road has taken a long time to finish  and she is unsure of the opening date for the school on the new property. After our tour of the new location we spent time with the students and teachers doing an art project with finger paints. The students were excited about the opportunity to get their hands dirty.

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Cooking class at Sathi Sansar

imageWe are now in Pokhara at Sathi Sansar school. The highlight of the day was being a part of their cooking class.  All the children, nearly 30, gathered into the living room of the large house that is their school, and gathered around the two-burner gas stove.  They learned about supplies and ingredients, how to shell peas, peal potatoes, and chop veggies for Nepali curry. We also spent some time sharing school supplies and learning techniques in the classes. Look at the creative flash cars they have for Nepali letters–thin painted plywood with sand and glue, tactile letters!

 

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Nepali job skills

Today was the last day we worked with the students and staff at SGCP. We focused our attention to the vocational program. One activity was teaching them to make gift bags out of newspaper, they can offer these when they sell their hand crafts as well as meet the demand as Nepal abolishes plastic bags next month. We also helped each student think about their strengths. We talked about setting goals and working with a timer to help focus work attention. One student was able to work and stay focused on her task once the time timer was introduced. After focusing on each persons strengths the vocational students made business cards that outlined the skills they can offer to a business, and helped think about a “brand” that was significant to those skills. We also spent some time shopping, purchasing the many hand crafts the students make.
At the end of the day SGCP gifted us a card signed by the students and staff and thanked us with a Nepali ceremony. We really enjoyed our time working with and getting to know everyone at SGCP and hope the activities introduced were beneficial and sustainable for the students and staff.

Special thanks to Sushil for coordinating our visit (he’s now part of the extended Trillium family).

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Technology & tools

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Today we spent time assisting in classrooms throughout the day. The computer lab was the highlight of the day. It was amazing to see Darshan work on his computer using a headmouse to write creative stories. Each of the stories he showed us were touching and showed us a bit of his personal story. The school was very surprised when he began writing because he has not been able to speak before. Other students use foot keyboards, head switches, and modified devices that allow them to learn and communicate. Prior to coming, SGCP had a mounting device on their wish list, so we donated one. This allows them to easily mount a switch anywhere that best suits the student.

We spent time with the vocational program students. They were showing us the crafts they make. After spending some time with them, we offered some tools to help the students set daily goals.

In the afternoon we helped lead a beading project. This was a fun way to demonstrate a range of ways to do a task, adapting methods based on the students strengths. A highlight that a teacher shared was that one student started using his right hand for the first time during this activity.

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200 rupees: shopathon!

imageThis was a fun expedition–shopping with students as part of their life skills learning program. We were a bit of a barrier for some kids because we were unfamiliar with a few products and our curiosity required extra communication on their part. It was great to support the interactions with store staff, math skills (some cheating with a calculator) and empowerment through consumer choice. Lots of fun and learning for all!

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Home visits

Since it is Saturday, and no school, we had the opportunity to do home visits with Gita, a teacher at SGCP. Home visits are a part of SGCP’s services, teachers visit homes twice a year and some physical therapy is offered at home to train parents. The two students we visited, Supriya and Darshan, are sponsored by Trillium, as their families would not otherwise be able to afford to send them to school.

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For Supriya, the visit is very timely as she will soon be transitioning to a regular school in her neighborhood. SGCP has been working on her mobility and life skills, so she is now able to get around with a walker, feed herself, and use the restroom independently–all criteria for her integration into a mainstream school. At her home the Gita and the parents talked about how some neighborhood families were wary of Supriya going to the local school and so they will plan to have Supriya’s younger sister attend the same school to model support. As Westerners, we were surprised by the informality of the meeting and the lack of discussion about logistics, such as how Supriya would navigate the steep stairs and unpaved, muddy terrain between her home and the school.  But they just figure these things out, they don’t need the ten-point plan  signed by all parties.

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When we arrived at Darshan’s he was 532 pages into Harry Potter and had his Nepali-English dictionary out to look up “dazzle”. He is a talented writer and artist himself. Through SGCP he has learned to read and also write using a head switch to operate a computer. He is the only literate person in his home and the books are from SGCP’s library.  For Darshan, he will continue to the long commute to SGCP since his school, which is across the street from his house, will not accept him.

Today’s home visits were a really powerful experience and certainly gave us a deeper understanding of barriers far beyond the cerebral palsy that these students face each day and also the resiliency they embody because of the creative support around them.

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Cerebral Palsy Nepal

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Today was the first of 5 days we will work with the Self Help Group for Cerebral Palsy (SGCP) also known as Cerebral Palsy Nepal. We spent our day getting to know the students and the teachers, and acclimating ourselves … Continue reading

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