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The Power of Opportunity

September 1, 2014

The Meadows Center for Opportunity is a workplace like no other. We are a nonprofit foundation that offers employment and vocational training to adults with intellectual challenges resulting from developmental disabilities, autism, traumatic brain injury, disease, stroke, dementia and epilepsy.

Many places of employment are often impersonal and unresponsive to the needs of their workers. Their focus is strictly on the bottom line, and therefore the people that work for them are not considered to be individually important. We, on the other hand, do business in a different way. We offer a compassionate environment where our employees are sincerely appreciated. Everyone in our organization cares about each other. We support each other and lift each other up. We share our successes, and we are there for someone when they go through difficult times. We learn together, we laugh together and five days a week we share our lives together. 

Each person we hire has particular challenges that have brought them to us. But it is incorrect to think that because a person is vulnerable in some way that it means they are incapable of learning job skills or that they cannot be productive and contribute. It just means that they achieve their best results in a supportive atmosphere that allows them to develop the talents and abilities they already possess while at the same time being given the chance to learn new tasks.

Here are just a few of the benefits that our organization offers to men and women who deserve hope and opportunity.

LONG TERM EMPLOYMENT: We do not lay off workers for economic reasons. We do not reduce people’s hours. People do not lose their jobs over health issues or because of age. When an individual comes to work for us they remain for as long as they safely can. We currently have employees who have more than 30 years of service with our organization.

VOCATIONAL TRAINING: Our workers are continually being trained in all aspects of their employment even as they are being paid for working. We assist each individual in whatever way necessary to allow them to increase their job skills while they also improve their social and living skills.

A SUPPORTIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENT: We do not pressure our employees to work faster, to do more, or to make fewer mistakes. We do not expect them to produce at a rate that makes them struggle or that cannot be sustained. Instead we assist them in becoming more productive by helping them improve their ability to focus on their job tasks so they can maintain a comfortable steady work pace.

HEALTH AND SAFETY: We are fully staffed, with a level of training that is not present in most community jobs. If a worker has a health emergency or an injury we are prepared to deal with it. Our employees are monitored at all times, including their lunch period and breaks to ensure their safety and well-being while they are at work.

ADAPTABILITY: We do whatever is necessary to allow someone to do their job comfortably and safely. We make modifications and adjustments to their work area. We assist them with mobility issues and communication challenges. We coordinate with families and guardians to ensure that every situation is beneficial to the individual and that we are always working as a team in the best interest of the employee.

DIGNITY AND RESPECT: We believe that employment should respect the dignity of a human being. It should be a fulfilling experience that enhances their confidence and self-esteem. We provide the most compassionate working environment possible with an atmosphere of complete acceptance. We maintain a consistently positive and supportive approach at all times.

Monday through Friday the amazing adults we employ come to together and achieve what would have been considered impossible only a few generations ago. Their accomplishments are the result of determination and perseverance. These individuals are living examples of the power of the human spirit. They have overcome a lifetime of challenges to be in a position to learn new vocational skills and to earn a steady paycheck.

Every day our workers perform their jobs efficiently and with complete accuracy. More than 3,000 loyal customers statewide know that they can count on us to provide fast courteous service with the highest possible quality. The men and women we employ continually perform their jobs to the very best of their abilities. The extraordinary results they achieve exemplify their dedication and commitment to their work. Their willingness to learn, and their positive attitudes, allows them to grow not only as employees but as people. Their desire to develop new vocational skills and to consistently attempt to improve their performance clearly demonstrates their passion for their jobs.

When you go to work tomorrow, please take a moment to consider what that actually represents. It means that your employer appreciates you as a person. They have faith in your ability. They trust you with responsibility, and they assume that you will attempt to meet all the requirements of your particular position. In many ways your job defines you to other people. The fact that you are successfully employed is the culmination of your education, your hard work and the willingness of someone to provide you with opportunity. The Meadows gives individuals with intellectual challenges the same experience.

The unemployment rate for adults with developmental disabilities is currently 70%. This heartbreaking statistic does not indicate the number of individuals that can’t work, but rather it reflects the deplorable fact that 7 out of 10 are not given the opportunity to work. Men and women with intellectual challenges deserve to have meaningful employment. They deserve to be productive and to be paid for their efforts. They deserve to have a job just like any other member of society.

A nonprofit can make a difference in life by embracing an idea that is so powerful that it impacts entire families. The Meadows is that type of organization. When a person comes to work for us, they are changed in a positive and lasting way as they begin a life affirming journey that encompasses far more than just employment.