A Solution to DHA/OHA Staffing Needs

Guest Blog by Jeff Akin
DHS|OHA Imaging and Records Management Administrator
@jefftakin

“What do you mean we have a pallet of mail to open? And there’s more coming?” 

Sometimes, the realization you’re in over your head and that you need help slaps you across the face like a… well, like a pallet of mail! The office I work in processes various types of mail that is sent to the Oregon Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority. This mail, Oregon Health Plan applications, Medicaid billing claims, Employment Related Day Care payment vouchers and more, is opened, sorted, scanned and processed for electronic workflow. These are critical pieces of mail that directly impact Oregonians. So, you can imagine our panic when the incoming mail far outpaced the number of people we had to process it!

We reached out to the Employment First program for help. They were able to match us with 9 people that had the skills to help us out with our mail problem. In addition to having the skills we needed and the desire to work, these people had intellectual and developmental disabilities. They took to the work right away! Within a few days they were making a significant dent in the mail. It didn’t take long at all for them to become an integral part of our team.

Why reach out to Employment First? Why seek out people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for employment? Simple – dignity. People want to enjoy their work; they want to do work that makes a difference. We had an opportunity to provide that to people; people that had connected with Employment First because of their desire to work. A job provides a paycheck, but for an employer to offer dignity and purpose in addition to that… well, that’s what I believe we’re here to do.

Some time has passed since we first hired our team of 9 people. Since then, four of them have been promoted, one into a different office. They add to the fabric of our daily work lives by serving on our safety committee, our fun committee and participating in process improvement initiatives. I am confident we made the best possible decision when we hired them, and I know this because of this quote that one of our team members says on a nearly daily basis: “This is the best job I’ve ever had. I just love coming to work every day!”

To learn more from Jeff and other local Inclusion Leaders about how you can make your workplace more inclusive, register and attend Amplify! Success on October 23rd, 9-1pm at Nike WHQ in Beaverton.  The high-energy, inspiring morning includes breakfast, lunch, professional breakout sessions, Keynote Speaker  Karen Gaffney and more!

Amplify! Success is a program of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

For more information or to become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2018, contact Amplify! Event Coordinator, Cindy Bahl at: 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

The Untapped Workforce

By Cindy Bahl

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest contributor to the Portland Business Journal (PBJ) and their series on the labor shortage entitled, “How Oregon Works”.  The September 7th issue focused on Construction and Field Work to offer new and innovative solutions to a statewide labor shortage.  In past issues, the PBJ covered industries such as healthcare and technology with future issues aimed at agriculture, manufacturing and education.  The series so far has addressed the lack of diversity in all segments of the workforce, but the articles have failed so far to discuss the opportunity to include people with disabilities, or what we call the “untapped workforce.”  My submission and inclusion to the series became an opportunity to share a few short success stories of how people with disabilities can contribute to the workforce in the construction-related field.

Every industry has the opportunity to be inclusive and incorporate people with disabilities into their workforce.  The opportunity is not industry specific. It is available to all employers, large or small, to completely diversify and reap the benefits of inclusion of all diversity categories, including disability.

One key to success involves a vision for an inclusive, receptive culture that values the unique skill sets of every individual.  This environment is not always present but is possible and developed through training and education from professionals like those at Dirkse Counseling & Consulting.

Join us for Amplify! Success on October 23rd at Nike WHQ in Beaverton for “Disability Workplace Inclusion: What is Your Vision?”  You will be inspired and motivated to formulate your own vision for inclusion in your life and in your industry, organization or business.

Amplify! Success is a program of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

For more information or to become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2018, contact Amplify! Event Coordinator, Cindy Bahl at: 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

People Are Talking!

By Cindy Bahl

How often do you rate, review or give a testimony about a business when you’ve used their services? Maybe you’ve had some work done on your car from a trusted local mechanic who not only took care of the services you paid for but also discovered a potential problem and made recommendations, saving you time and money while also providing great customer service. Did you take the time to give your mechanic a positive review?

Testimonials, reviews and ratings are especially important today in business. Most of us are using websites such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook to check out ratings and what people are saying about a business before purchasing a product or trying out a service. We want to know what others think and what their experience was like before we decide to try something new. Companies are working hard to get consumers to rate and write reviews, some even offer incentives like coupons or discounts on future transactions, all to help boost sales, create awareness and engagement with their audience.

So, if you missed the Amplify! Success event last October and are unsure about registering for our 2nd annual event coming up October 23rd at Nike WHQ in Beaverton, don’t take my word for it that you should to attend! Here are just a few testimonials from past attendees:

  • “What an inspiring event. I learned so much and am looking forward to learning much more.” Maria Isabel Chandra, MBA – HR Administrator, Latino Network
  • “Such a wonderful presentation and stories.” Stacy Ruthrauff – HR Director, City of Tualatin
  • “Amazing Event!” Jennifer Edeline – Supervisor, Talent Acquistion, Providence Health & Services

People are talking about Amplify! Success and you won’t want to miss this year’s event with the theme: Disability Workplace Inclusion: What is Your Vision? It promises to be a morning with inspiration and information to help you create a vision for inclusion for yourself and in your workplace. We can’t wait to share your testimonies!

Amplify! Success is a program of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

For more information or to become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2018, contact Amplify! Event Coordinator, Cindy Bahl at: 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

What Is Your Vision?

By Cindy Bahl

According to SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management) “a vision statement looks forward and creates a mental image of the ideal state that the organization wishes to achieve.”  By developing a vision for the future, businesses can create a guide for the growth they want to see in their company, whether that’s creating an environment for creativity, a focus on improving their community, or advocating for the inclusion of all people in the workforce.

The 2nd annual Amplify! Success event theme is: “Disability Workplace Inclusion: What is Your Vision?” Amplify! Success will assist you in creating your own vision statement and inspire you to create a vision of inclusion, wherever you are.  Inclusion starts with YOU as an individual and with YOU as a member of a larger community and organization.  Regardless of your position or role, YOU can make a difference in disability diversity and inclusion by creating your own vision for inclusiveness.

Plan now to join us on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 from 9:00am-1:00pm at Nike WHQ in Beaverton, Tiger Woods Conference Center for a fast-paced, high energy morning full of inspiration and information.  Registration is now open and includes:

  • Breakfast, Networking & Lunch
  • Inspirational Keynote Speaker, Karen Gaffney
  • Guest Speakers from Inclusion Leaders at Nike & OHSU
  • 2 Professional Development Breakout Sessions & More!

Amplify! Success is a program of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

For more information or to become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2018, contact Amplify! Event Coordinator, Cindy Bahl at: 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

Ever Been Unemployed?

By Cindy Bahl

If you are like many of us, you have been unemployed at one time or another.  You might have felt like I did during my 7 months “between jobs”, experiencing a variety of emotions.  The spectrum for me ranged from the excitement of having some “free time” to denial that sounded like, “how could this happen to me?”  Feelings like discouragement, depression and doubt around self-worth were the common enemies of my soul.  Like many of us, my self-esteem, independence and basic existence since the age of 16 has been in my career (since 11 if you count babysitting!).  But for 7 months, I applied to positions for which I was very qualified and that matched my skill set and got very few interviews or opportunities.  I experienced what many job seekers with disabilities experience every day even in this economy of low unemployment.

At the recent Amplify Rock Stars event, our guest speaker, Jeff Akin, Manager of Imaging, Records Management Systems with The State of Oregon asked attendees this very question: “How many of you in this room have ever been unemployed?”  By a show of hands, it seemed that most of us could relate.  He threw down a challenge to the employers in the room and stated, “As employers, we have the golden ticket, we have jobs.”

I challenge you to take 10 minutes out of your work day and listen to the whole story from Jeff.  It will get you thinking about unemployment and what you can do to tap in to the potential of people with disabilities who are often under-utilized. This is a diverse group of motivated people who have the skills and abilities to meet business needs, to contribute to a team and to society in a meaningful and dignified way.  Isn’t that what we all want?

SAVE THE DATE

2nd Annual Amplify Success! Event at Nike WHQ – October 18, 2018!

VIEW the DETAILS

The Rock Stars Rocked It!

  • #celebrationofemployers
  • #disabilityemployment
  • #amplifysuccess
  • #workplaceinclusion
  • #bestpractices
  • #disabilitydiversitychallenge

“Enjoyed hearing best practices from employers sharing their success.” L.E.

“I loved this!  Thank you for great information!” L.G.

“Great event! Good mix of educational and promotional content.” I.A.

By Heidi Dirkse-Graw and Cindy Bahl

Above are some of the hash tags and pieces of feedback that exemplify the focus at the Amplify Rock Stars event on the morning of May 31, 2018 at Embassy Suites by Hilton, Washington Square-Portland-Tigard. Employers and community partners gathered to celebrate employers who, over the course of the last seven months, have taken tangible steps and exemplified passion to focus on several important questions:

  • What does it take for an employer to build a diverse and inclusive workforce that sees Ability vs. Disability when considering job applicants with disabilities?
  • “How can employers meet business needs by identifying job tasks within their organization that match the talents, skills and abilities of job seekers with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities?”
  • “What steps can an organization take to promote hiring and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workplace?”

During the event attendees got inspired from success stories, learning about best practice models from a workforce panel and hearing from Jeff Akin, a guest employer, who inspired and challenged the 70 people in the room with his humor and stories of disability inclusion success. He encouraged attendees to continue to “amp-up” their disability diversity initiatives and take the “Oregon Disability Diversity Challenge,” focused on helping employers take their next step forward in disability employment.

And, of course, we celebrated the, “Amplify Rock Stars,” those employers who took the challenge back in October 2017 at the inaugural AmplifySuccess! Event at Nike WHQ. The following employers were recognized:

  • Fred Meyer, Raleigh Hills, Leupold & Stevens & Oregon Health & Science University were acknowledged for providing employment opportunities through their inclusive hiring initiatives.
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton, Washington Square-Portland-Tigard was honored for implementing Project Search, a 9-week internship program for individuals who experience disabilities that will provide on-site training, develop job skills and a pipeline of candidates for not only Embassy Suites, but other employers as well.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Portland, The City of Beaverton, The Department of Human services; Imaging Records Management and Jama Software were all acknowledged for engaging with Dirkse CC who provided on-site Disability Inclusion and Employment Training to enhance their workplace culture.

If you missed the event, it is not too late for YOU to “amp up”!  What are your next steps?  We are here to help.  Please contact Cindy Bahl, Business Development Manager at: 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com to start the conversation.

SAVE THE DATE

2nd Annual Amplify Success! Event at Nike WHQ – October 18, 2018!

Event Sponsors were also acknowledged and recognized because an event like this could not happen without the support of our generous community.  

Collaborating Partners

Business Recognition Sponsors

Business Promotion Sponsors

D Three Productions logo
Portland Badge and Sign logo
Brubaker Photography logo
Embassy Suites by Hilton - Portland, Washington Square logo

Meeting Business Needs: Impacting Change

As a member of The Beaverton Chamber of Commerce I have had the opportunity to represent Dirkse CC and volunteer for the semi-annual “Business Walk” where volunteers go out in to the business community and ask three simple, yet important questions:

  1. How is business?
  2. How is doing business in Beaverton?
  3. What keeps you up at night/what are your challenges?

I like volunteering for this information-gathering opportunity for several reasons:

  1. The Volunteers are not “selling” anything.
  2. Volunteers are asking important questions.
  3. Volunteers are gathering feedback from the community.
  4. It’s fun!

Time is running out and seats are filling fast. Register for the FREE Amplify Rock Stars event today!

Since the mission of The BCC is to represent business in the community this short, in-person survey has the potential to impact change. Although promises are not made, some changes have occurred quickly as a result and others are given to City Leaders and Officials with a full report and actions available to those interested. The activity is a way to help meet the needs of businesses in the Beaverton community; to survey industries and to bring back input from the trenches to the front line for potential change.

This process is also how we at Dirkse CC help businesses recognize and respond to their specific Disability Employment and Inclusion needs. Through our complimentary consultation process of asking the right questions, identifying the challenges and gathering feedback, we can offer our 21 years plus of experience in creating an inclusive culture and in providing workplace solutions. Whether you are just thinking about disability diversity and inclusion in your business or you already have a plan in place, we can help you through the process of inclusive hiring, retention and training. It’s a simple process with impactful results for your business culture, your bottom-line and your community.

To learn more about what leading employers are doing to become more inclusive of people with disabilities, register to attend Amplify Rock Stars, May 31st, 8:00-10:00am at Embassy Suites by Hilton, Washington Square, Portland-Tigard, by clicking the button above. Our Workforce Panel Discussion “Tapping In To Ability” is sure to inspire and encourage you toward a plan of action for disability diversity and inclusion in your workplace.

Contact: Cindy Bahl, Dirkse CC Business Development Manager & Amplify Event Coordinator for more information. 503-258-7715 or info@amplifysuccess.org

Amplify Rock Stars! Let’s Celebrate!

Seven months ago, on October 19. 2017 at NIKE WHQ, 115 employers and community partners joined together for Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.’s first Amplify Success event! This was an event designed to inspire the Portland community to take strides toward improving disability employment and inclusion in the workforce. Now we are gearing up for a celebration of the outcomes made by employers who took the Oregon Disability Diversity Challenge last October and to share news about promising practices in the Portland area.

Time is running out and seats are filling fast. Register for the FREE Amplify Rock Stars event today!

We want YOU to attend! The Amplify Rock Stars Celebration will be held on May 31st, from 8-10am at Embassy Suites by Hilton, Washington Square-Portland and you are personally invited! After all, who doesn’t like a good party?  Just like most parties there will be food, drinks, gifts, old friends, new friends and some fun, positive energy to start off your day!

 

Whether you attended the first event or not, you won’t want to miss our Workforce Panel discussion, “Tapping into Ability” which will give you information and ideas around best practices from leaders in the business community.  Our success stories promise to inspire and encourage as we share the impact employment has made for individuals hired and, on the organizations, who hired them.

If you’ve been on-the-fence, curious or have a plan in mind for disability inclusion in your workplace; this is the event for YOU!  Come and celebrate with us and learn what others are doing and what YOU can do to get “All Amped” up and become an Amplify Success Rock Star in your business or organization and in our community.

Let’s Party!

What’s Your Story?

I recently had the opportunity to share a success story with readers of a local publication, “The Beaverton Resource Guide”.  I am always proud to write these monthly success stories featuring an individual (or two) who have reached their career goal and been hired by a local business or organization.  The story usually involves a little about the individual and the challenges they face when job searching and then a little about the players involved in helping them along the way and of course, about the employer who hired them.  The May, 2018 issue* that just hit the stands is one I am particularly proud to share as it is featuring an employer who attended our Amplify Success event last October.

Time is running out and seats are filling fast. Register for the FREE Amplify Rock Stars event today!

Sharon Person, Assistant Human Resources Manager of the Raleigh Hills Fred Meyer attended the Amplify Success event and shared that the event inspired her to see the ability in people first and to recognize the value of each person.  Sharon stated “attending Amplify Success brought awareness of how I could help out and I felt more comfortable having resources.  It is important to engage with people, to get to know them and what their abilities are.”   Her attitude matches the Fred Meyer philosophy of inclusive work culture that values and appreciates individual differences and provides equal opportunity to all; reflecting their customers and community which is also a perfect fit for our job seekers who experience disability.

As a result, Ms. Person hired two young adults seeking their first paid job in the community. Both have the attitude and ability to do the job and both embody the Fred Meyer customer service motto.  They now enjoy some of the same benefits you and I enjoyed as we experienced our first jobs; earning a paycheck, helping our families and working as part of a team.  But without someone like Ms. Person at Fred Meyer to see their ability and the value they bring, they may not have the same opportunities as you and me.

So, what is YOUR story?  If you attended Amplify Success last fall and were inspired to see the ability in all people; what has changed for you, for your company or organization?  Have you started a conversation, developed a plan or initiative?  Have you engaged with us or others for Disability Diversity and Inclusion Training?  Have you hired someone with a disability or provide opportunities that may not have been there before?  What have you done?  We’d like to hear from you; we’d like to share your story too!  Feel free to contact us today and don’t forget to register for Amplify Rock Stars, a celebration of success stories that will include our friends at Fred Meyer.

*CLICK HERE to read full Beaverton Resource Guide Story

Get involved in the cultural movement – Consider working with your local Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation office and Oregon Employment First who will connect you with agencies like Dirkse CC to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities in your workplace.  We are here to help you see the abilities in people and to look beyond the disability.  We want to help reduce the myths, fears and biases that may impact your hiring and retention of this untapped workforce.

Let us help you change your perception of ability so that you too can become “Rock Stars” and amplify your workplace with inclusion for all.

To become a sponsor or for more information contact: Cindy Bahl, Dirkse CC Business Development & Amplify Rock Stars Event Coordinator – 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com/info@amplifysuccess.org

We are here for you; to assist you and your business/organization with your disability diversity initiatives in 2018.  Because we believe:

Disability inclusion matters

It benefits business

It benefits us all.

Dirkse-Logo-Color-Tag

3 Things Employers Want

In our experience over the past 21 years in business, we have noticed across all industries that employers have a common goal regardless of the job title, job description and profession. Employers are looking for just 3 simple things:

  • Skills; the ability to perform the job or tasks.
  • Reliability; show up and perform those tasks.
  • Teamwork; work together, communicate and get along with others.

Yet in this low unemployment and tight job market there still remains a large population of people who could meet the employer’s need for skilled and reliable team members. You guessed it, they are individuals who experience disability.

Did you know this is also a minority group that any one of us could enter at any time? In fact, according to 2013 statistics, 19% of the U.S population, or 56 million, experience some form or another of disability. Plus, with the Baby Boomer generation aging and staying at work longer, this number will rapidly increase.

So why does the unemployment rate for people with disabilities remain so high? According to the US Department of Labor in 2016 it was more than double at 10.5% compared to 4.6% for those without disabilities. What are the barriers? Why aren’t employers tapping in to this under-utilized workforce that can provide the 3 simple things every employer wants?

Come to Amplify Rock Stars, Thursday, May 31st 8-10am at Embassy Suites by Hilton, Washington Square-Portland-Tigard and find out what several local employers and business leaders are doing to tap into this under-utilized segment of the community.

The workforce panel discussion, “Tapping Into Ability” includes:

  • Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director – Lorraine Clarno
  • City of Beaverton Assistant City Attorney – Jenny Marston
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton, Washington Square, Portland General Manager – Scott Youngblood
  • Oregon Health and Science University Diversity Talent Acquisition – Riikka Salonen
  • Washington County Vocational Rehabilitation Branch Manager – Karen Burch

Each panelist will bring a different perspective to the discussion along with various programs and initiatives that they are using to tap in to the abilities of people with disabilities.  It will be a discussion and celebration of their challenges and success stories you won’t want to miss!

Get involved in the cultural movement – Consider working with your local Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation office and Oregon Employment First who will connect you with agencies like Dirkse CC to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities in your workplace.  We are here to help you see the abilities in people and to look beyond the disability.  We want to help reduce the myths, fears and biases that may impact your hiring and retention of this untapped workforce.

Let us help you change your perception of ability so that you too can become “Rock Stars” and amplify your workplace with inclusion for all.

To become a sponsor or for more information contact: Cindy Bahl, Dirkse CC Business Development & Amplify Rock Stars Event Coordinator – 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com/info@amplifysuccess.org

We are here for you; to assist you and your business/organization with your disability diversity initiatives in 2018.  Because we believe:

Disability inclusion matters

It benefits business

It benefits us all.

Dirkse-Logo-Color-Tag
Empower Your Workforce
Affirm Abilities
Amplify Success!