From stem to flower, this Trillium is growing!

On August 18th we had the great opportunity to hold our biannual All Staff Day! Trilliumites (as we like to call ourselves) from Clark, Kitsap, King and Pierce Counties came together for a fun day of insightful training, engaging discussions and lively team building. The topics included career advancement, difficult conversations, discovery and assessments, networking and more. With so many in attendance, the group had to be split in two!

Summer All staff photo

Trillium has been steadily growing and evolving from its humble beginnings in 1983. Initially operating only in King County with 3 staff members, Trillium has expanded over the years into 3 other counties. In 2006, our team was at 17, a decade later we’re 79 and going strong!

With more Trilliumites on board, we’re able to pursue our mission on a grander scale! Back in the 80’s we helped dozens, now we’re helping hundreds.  Over last decade we’ve more than quadrupled our reach, serving over 500 people and over 450 employers!

We look forward to what the next decade brings us!

Recent Highlights

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Unexpected Benefits – Fresh Insight from Business

Trillium facilitated an employer panel as part of the Diversity Conference hosted by Olympic College on June 24th.  The panel included Silver City Brewery’s Head Brewer, Gary Winn, South Kitsap School District’s Superintendent Dr. Reid, Shevy Schmaus of Hangar Clinic, and Stan Linn representing Hop Jack’s Restaurant.

2016 employer panel

Expert Panel, from left, Gary Winn, Stan Linn, Shevy Schmaus, Dr. Reid

Each employer shared their experience of integrating employees with intellectual disabilities into their team.  Several examples detailed of improving workflow or filling a labor gap, and positive customer feedback. They also shared openly about challenges that Trillium had helped them overcome.

And then we heard something new. Gary from Silver City explained that hiring Larry, his supported employee, created a leadership opportunity for his existing team members.  Like any new business decision, Gary needed the right point person to ensure success with their first supported employee. What he discovered was a unique leadership opportunity for a staff member to ensure that Larry was well trained and integrated into the crew.  Great thought went into selecting this point person, knowing that this would not be a traditional new hire onboarding process. Gary was proud as he shared the ways the staff person had risen to the opportunity, describing a powerful and unexpected benefit to building an inclusive team.

What have you discovered, or maybe look forward to discovering, through supported employment? Please share your stories in the comment section below!

Recent Trillium Highlights:

  • Michelle Suarez, Jaymie Heberlien, and LeEllen Ferguson, were promoted to Program Manager, to help us ensure quality as our teams grow.
  • We are new to Twitter!  Follow us for up to date notices on newly acquired jobs and anniversaries!
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Who you gonna call? INCLUSIVE BUSINESSES!

We at Trillium are thrilled to announce a newcounties resource on our website! The tool, cordially called the Inclusive Business Finder, provides information to help locate businesses and organizations who embrace inclusive employment practices with Trillium’s help. Here’s how it works:

  1. Select the tool from our website’s main menu
  2. Select the County you’re interested in
  3. Select one of seven categories: Shopping,categories Entertainment, Restaurant, Food & Beverage, Government & Education, Health & Wellness, Business & Professional Services, and More…

You will then be provided with an interactive map, showing you the precise location of the businesses and organizations we partner with. So whether you’re looking for an inclusive pizza place to go to for dinner, or you’re just curious to see who we work with, this tool is for you! Click here to go check it out for yourself!


Why is it important? Inclusive Employers represent some of the best members of our community. Their open-minded employment practices provide meaningful jobs for those who otherwise might have been overlooked to contribute to the workforce. Please help us support these businesses by patronizing them and reinforcing their great businesses practices!

Recent Trillium Highlights:

Trillium has brought on some great new talent in an attempt to meet demand:

  • 5 Employment Consultants
    • Taylor Saunders – King
    • Morgan Reese – King
    • Alex Blanchard – Pierce
    • Ashton Webb – Clark
    • Amy Reed – Clark
  • 2 Job Coaches
    • Tanya Cain – King
    • Ashley Frantzen – Kitsap
  • 2 Administrative Assistants
    • Sean Gleason – King
    • David Dartt – King
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Ding Ding! Local Flavor Ready To Serve


Mark accepting the Governor’s Employer Award with Heidi Scheibner, Kitsap Program Manager.

     Trillium is thrilled to welcome our newest Trillium board member, Mark Shaefer.  Mark is the managing partner of Hop Jack’s restaurants and brings over 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry.

   Mark has developed a deep working knowledge of Trillium, having hired his first supported employee with our help back in 2012 at the Silverdale location. Today, Hop Jack’s has 13 employees with intellectual disabilities at seven locations across Kitsap, King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.  It’s a thriving company with many expansion plans and a commitment to continue their practice of including people with disabilities in their growing workforce.

      In 2015, Mark accepted the Governor’s Employer Award for his success in those efforts.  You can watch a video of his acceptance speech for the award below—demonstrating his passion for supported employment. We look forward to the many ways Mark’s help will strengthen our organization and services.

Recent Trillium Highlights:

  • Thanks to a wildly successful 2015, Trillium has been inundated in requests for services and we need more help! All of our locations are actively searching for new employment consultants to meet demand. If you or someone you know is looking for a rewarding, dynamic career, check out our career opportunities page!
  • On Thursday April 28th, three members of Trillium’s staff got to visit with students at Kent Meridian High School, as part of their career day. Throughout the 7 hour event, dozens of students had a chance to learn about our mission and history, as well as participate in activities demonstrating some of the necessary skills when job developing and coaching. They even had the opportunity to construct real messages that went out over our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We had a great time and look forward to participating at the next career day.
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From the steps of the Capitol

EAD group

Many who made the trip to Olympia seated together ready for the Governor’s rally to begin!

Employment For All Advocacy Day, March 2nd, was a fantastic experience.

  • Over 40 individuals, both clients and Trillium staff, traveled to Olympia for the day.
  • We met with 20 legislators representing districts in Clark, King, Kitsap and Pierce counties.
  • Students and teachers from the Federal Way School District explained “School To Work” as a successful model to get work-ready students into the workforce.
  • Nearly 200 people gathered for the Governor’s Proclamation of Employment For All Day. As the rally began, chants of “WE CAN WORK! WE CAN WORK!” could be heard echoing through the legislative building. During the rally, legislators were recognized for their efforts on behalf of supported employment. 



The Columbia room within the Legislative building housed the Arc’s rally which kicked off the day!


From left: Trillium Employment Consultant Makynlie, Representative Hans Zeiger, and Supported-Employee Ian

From left: Trillium Employment Consultant Makynlie, Representative Hans Zeiger, and Supported-Employee Ian

The day was a wonderful opportunity for people with disabilities to share their stories with their legislators about why work matters. Legislators learn about the businesses in their districts that have created an integrated workforce and they hear how earning a paycheck enables someone to contribute to the economy and, of course, be a taxpayer! This is our opportunity to thank Washington legislators for their investment in supported employment programs. Businesses and individuals with disabilities rely on the leadership of our elected officials to help us create an inclusive workforce. There are still many unemployed and underemployed Washingtonians with intellectual disabilities so together we will continue to ensure employment for all.


It was an energizing and empowering day to get the voice of people with disabilities in the halls of our capitol and making their mark on the advancement of inclusion in our communities. Thanks to the Arc of Washington and Community Employment Alliance for coordinating the day.


Recent Trillium highlights:

  • Kitsap spent a day preparing clients for interivews with a fun speed interview event.  They are ready to work–you ready to hire? Check out this fun video.
  • We are continuing to distribute our INCLUSIVE EMPLOYER window decals to businesses throughout the state! Keep on the lookout!
Inclusive Employer decal being put up at iFly in Tukwila

Inclusive Employer decal being put up at iFly in Tukwila

the decal is up on the window at this Papa Johns location in Maple Valley

The decal is up on the window at this Papa Johns location in Maple Valley

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Who’s Inclusive?

Supported employment for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) can’t happen without exemplary inclusive employers. What does it mean to be an inclusive employer? It means the organization creates and maintains a workplace environment in which every employee is treated with dignity and respect, provided opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment, and valued for their talents and skills, regardless of perceived differences like intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The organization carries this mindset into its hiring practices and community involvement. They represent some the best of our communities, and we want everyone to be able to recognize them for their efforts.

This year Trillium Employment ServicesExcl. Empl. Window Sticker is providing a window decal that identifies these employers. We encourage you to provide them with your appreciation and your business. Share in the celebration with us, take a picture at one of these awesome organizations and share it with us on our social media, facebook and Twitter @trilliumservice.

Recent Trillium Highlights

  • Karen Williams officially stepped into the role of Executive Director of Trillium, following the retirement of the much-loved Trish Borden. Karen was also mentioned in the “people on the move” section of the Puget Sound Business Journal.
  • Three new Employment Consultants joined the team: Cory Ladd and Amanda Campbell in Kitsap County, and Sarah Conklin in King County.
  • Trillium was mentioned in a broadcast television segment thanks to King 5 News in Seattle. The segment featured the story of Kyle, one of clients Trillium supports.
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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.”…


      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.


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.

Excellence in Employment 11_13_2015

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.


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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