We’d Like Your Feedback on Amplify!

Satisfaction surveys seem to be everywhere we turn; whether that’s at the bottom of our grocery receipts, at the end of a customer service call with your internet provider, and even at the end of making a purchase online. While they might be abundant and occasionally annoying to fill out, they can be of great use to companies to know how their customers feel about their products and services. Sometimes it can feel like we participate in these surveys to help companies (and maybe jump in on a chance to win a prize) but nothing about their services seems to change. If we don’t see a change, how do we know that companies are reading our reviews and taking our comments into consideration?

Dirkse CC uses several forms of satisfaction surveys to help improve our services and delivery. One method is using comment cards at the end of our Amplify! events to hear what attendees liked about the event and what they would love to see at the next one. It was through these comment cards that Dirkse CC found out that many people wanted to “amp up” the activities at the Amplify! events and add a professional development section. By listening to our attendees, we’ve increased attendance at our events and created more opportunities for employers to engage with one another.

While we only use comment cards at our events, we still love to hear from people like you about what you like about Amplify! and what you would like to see in the future. Click on the link below to take a brief, four question survey so we can hear what you have to say.

Register Today for Amplify! Rock Stars 2019

Secure your spot now and plan on another inspiring morning full of success stories and celebrations!

May 23, 2019 9:00am – 11:30am
Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington Square

Registration is open, but we’re still building out the day’s agenda. Please continue to check back for updates!

Partner with us! You too can become a sponsor and partner of Amplify! Help us promote diversity and inclusion in our workforce and community – ASK US HOW – contact Cindy Bahl @ 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com

It All Starts with a Conversation

Once again we want to thank those who attended Amplify Success on October 19th and for those who expressed interest in the Oregon Employment First Diversity Challenge!

We wanted to share with you some of progress to date and the process we will use to help Oregon Employers become more diverse and inclusive in the workplace and to especially include individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD).

The first objective of Amplify! was to engage people within any level of an organization, company, or government entity to begin to make a difference in the recruiting and employment of job seekers with I/DD. Whether those who responded want to dive right in and get all AMPED UP, or get more information and develop a vision, it is all good and we can help!

What’s Next?

We currently have appointments with 10 employers who responded and want to get “All Amped Up” before the New Year!  There is still time and opportunity for you; just reach out and we will connect.

The process begins with a simple conversation around the following goals:

  • To hear your vision
  • Discuss your current disability employment practices
  • Identify your strengths and needs
  • Develop an action plan

We look forward to reporting on the progress of these activities and next spring sharing the success stories that come from employers taking these first steps.

SAVE THE DATE:  Thursday, May 31st, 2018
“We Amped Up”!

A wrap up event hosted by Embassy Suites, Washington Square in order to share and honor those employers who took the challenge! Watch for more information in the coming months!

Cindy Bahl
Business Development Manager & Event Coordinator

Heidi Dirkse-Graw, MS, CRC, LPC
President/CEO

Why Amplify!?

Because disability inclusion matters.
It benefits business.
It benefits us all.

Thank you Local Employers!

Thank you local area employers for attending the Amplify! event held at Nike WHQ yesterday morning! The room was packed!

I trust that you were as encouraged as I, by the keynote speaker, Dr. Richard Pimentel, as he inspired us to see ABILITY and to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities find their, “music within.”Through humor, tears and stories, he challenged us to address our unconscious bias and break down the barriers to workplace inclusion within ourselves and in our community. He amplified the importance and value that each person brings to our workplace and to our world.

The response to the Oregon Employment First Diversity Challenge Card exceeded our expectations! For those that completed the card, the team at Dirkse CC will be in contact soon to help your company/agency take the next steps! If you didn’t fill out a card or could not attend, please reach out – We’d love to talk more about what might work for your business.

Another shout out to the Nike Ability Team for hosting the venue and to our collaborating partners and sponsors, especially Oregon Employment First, who encouraged the opportunity to innovate and engage local communities to improve employment outcomes for students and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Last, but not least, I want to recognize my team at Dirkse CC for making the event run smoothly yesterday without a hitch!

Let’s Amplify!

Heidi Dirkse-Graw, MS, CRC, LPC
President/CEO
Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

Why Amplify!?

Because disability inclusion matters.
It benefits business.
It benefits us all.

Local Boy Comes Home

one-more-week

By: Dr Richard Pimentel

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” — Albert Einstein.

Einstein was thought of as anything but a genius when he was young. Life for him was like a fish trying to climb a tree. Then he found his lake. Mathematics. His story is not unlike many of our own stories. We of course are not geniuses as Einstein was but we all have a spark of genius our “music within” that we seek to discover and a “lake” that we hope to find.

When I was disabled in Vietnam I was sent home to Portland Oregon. At the time I was very much felt like a fish trying to climb a tree. It was not till years later that I realized that I did not have to search for my lake. I was sent home to it. The Portland/Beaverton area gave me the support and encouragement that I needed to be a part of the early disability rights and inclusion movement in the United States and eventually around the world.

I would like to take this moment to give a “shout out” to the individuals, organizations and employers who provided me with the “lake” I needed to learn to swim.

Portland State. When I was told by the Veterans Administration that my hearing was too damaged to ever become a professional speaker the head of the speech department, Ben Padrow told me “nonsense.” He worked with me for five years to achieve my goal.

Pacific Power & Light. When I was a college student in the 1970s I was working with disabled Vietnam veterans to try to get them jobs. PP&L donated their auditorium to me to conduct free trainings for persons with disabilities in the Portland/Beaverton area on how to find employment and be successful on the job.

When I was unexpectedly invited to Washington DC to attend the President’s Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities I was a student and had no money to attend. PP&L raised funds and paid my way so I could learn and return and help persons with disabilities in our community.

U.S. National Bank of Oregon. When I was a student and had an untested idea to develop a supervisor training to change attitudes towards the hiring and development of employees with disabilities. U.S. bank offered to “donate 200 supervisors for me to “practice” on and help develop the program. That program eventually became the “Windmills” Changing the Perception of Abilities employer training that is not the international standard for diversity training for persons with disabilities.

Tektronix, Beaverton Oregon.  One of the first employers to use and support the Windmills program. One of the undisputed leaders in diversity, inclusion for all their employees. They were one of the first national employers to train their supervisors in disability awareness.

“The California Governors Committee on Employment of the Handicapped” In 1979 they funded a nationwide search to identify the most effective and innovative ideas to change employer attitudes toward the hiring and promoting of persons with disabilities. They identified Portland/Beaverton area as the leader in the country. They funded Oregon’s model internationally.

Art Honeyman. A Portland State student, a disability activist, poet and a staple at the “Saturday Market” in Portland. He taught me that there was more to disability than my own challenges.  He became a friend and mentor for life.

THE PORTLAND/BEAVERTON METRO AREA.  The seeds of the disability inclusion movement are not associated with the Portland Beaverton area simply because I lived there. It is because the area lived in me. Its values, its support, its philosophy and its standards became my lake. Without it I might still be trying to climb that tree.

Your company can be someone’s lake, the environment where your employees will find and in return give meaning. On October 19th I am coming home. I may have left our home many years ago but our home has never left me.

one-more-week

Why attend Amplify!?

Because disability inclusion matters.
It benefits business.
It benefits us all.

Success Story : D’Vida Injury Clinic and Wellness Center

CLICK HERE to REGISTER TODAY! Seats are filling fast for this FREE event!

By: Heidi Dirkse-Graw, MS, CRC, LPC – President/CEO – Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

Carlo Adds Value and Joy to the D'Vida Team

Job creation is perhaps one of the most innovative ways business can get involved in facilitating employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is a formula that works and it produces results for all. Job creation – identifying business needs and matching abilities and interests of individuals with disabilities is one of the primary goals of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

A great example of inclusion and innovation can be found at D’Vida Injury Clinic and Wellness Center in Beaverton, OR.  Owners Michelle Whittaker, LAc and Dr. Tony Rhodes, DC, ART, were open to the innovative approach known in the industry as a “job carve” or separating out tasks that match the skill sets of a motivated job seeker.  Colleagues Glenn Bishop and Cindy Bahl were fortunate to introduce them to Carlo Umanzor, a kind, soft-spoken 21-year-old who experiences Autism. Because of a short-term volunteer experience, they already knew that Carlo was interested and had the skill set required to meet a business need.

At D’Vida patients are treated to soft, clean flannel sheets that previously required attention from their Administrative team. The business process was assessed and identified laundry and other tasks causing a back-log and taking away from other pressing duties such as checking in patients, verifying insurance benefits and answering the phones.  They matched those tasks to Carlo and his skill set, creating an innovative solution and a “win-win” for the individual, the business and the community.

Carlo takes great pride in making sure patients at D’Vida receive this special treatment.  “It’s a pretty great job . . .  I learned how to use this washer and dryer and I make sure there are clean sheets for the patients”.

“It’s truly been such a pleasure having Carlo on board with our team.” Michelle shared.  “We were pleasantly surprised at what a wonderful attitude he had and how great he has fit in to the culture of our clinic. He has added value and joy to our team and is a lot of fun to work with!”

At Dirkse CC, it is our privilege to be a part of success stories like Carlo and D’Vida where “Inclusion Drives Innovation” every day.

Did you know that National Disability Employment Awareness Month is celebrated each October since it was originally declared by Congress in 1945?

The purpose of NDEAM is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s National theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”

Join us in celebrating NDEAM and learn more about how you can create a stronger workforce and community through inclusive hiring. REGISTER TODAY to attend Amplify! Empower Your Workforce, Affirm Abilities, Amplify Success! Thursday, October 19th, 8:00am-11:00am, hosted by Nike WHQ.

Why attend Amplify!?

Because disability inclusion matters.
It benefits business.
It benefits us all.

Employers Discuss Disability Inclusion and the Amplify Event

Why attend Amplify!?

Because disability inclusion matters.
It benefits business.
It benefits us all.

CLICK HERE to REGISTER TODAY! Seats are filling fast for this FREE event!

Disability Inclusion : The Power of Resources and Collaboration

CLICK HERE to REGISTER TODAY! Seats are filling fast for this FREE event!

By: Heidi Dirkse-Graw, MS, CRC, LPC – President/CEO – Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

Disability Inclusion in the Workplace: The Power of Resources and Collaboration

Imagine yourself on a rustic deserted island in the tropics. White sand. Palm trees. Crystal blue water. It all seems perfect. You are resting in the warmth of the sun. Then you wake up and realize you have nothing to eat and you don’t know how to survive in the wilderness. All you see is sand, water and trees for miles. What do you do? Where do you turn for help?

Becoming a business where people with disabilities are woven into the fabric of the workplace, supply chain and culture of business may sometimes feel like the deserted island. The concept is welcome and inviting, but the practicalities of how to make it happen leave one questioning where to turn for help.

In my experience helping businesses and job seekers with disabilities, I have found that two factors are vital to success: resources and the power of collaboration.

On the island, there are many sources of food. One just needs to know where to look. In disability employment, information is a click away.  The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) website, www.dol.gov/odep, offers a launching point. It is the only non-regulatory agency of the federal government designed specifically to help people with disabilities and employers/business to promote disability inclusion in the workplace. On the website you will learn about five different programs that can help get you started. Most resources are completely free of charge and some programs help businesses learn about tax credits that help offset costs of implementation.

But what about collaboration? Aren’t you alone on the island? Let’s suppose you awake one afternoon from a siesta in the warm sun. You’re no longer hungry as the coconuts are a plenty and you now eat crickets, the latest rage. Today, however, something catches your eye down the beach. You look closer and you think you see people! Your whole world changes. Now you are not alone; there are others who are also trying to find a way to build shelter, forage for food and make a life. Suddenly, your way is made easier; there is collective energy more powerful than yourself.

Becoming part of a collective group of businesses that promotes disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain and market, is akin to discovering that you are not alone on the island. In fact, the more you collaborate the more effective your efforts. You brainstorm best practices, discuss resources and implement innovative strategies. Everyone gains and change happens. I’ve seen it.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness month. In communities around the country events will be hosted to bring together business to begin and/or continue the conversation of workplace inclusion of people with disabilities.  In Portland, Oregon, will you join us for Amplify! on October 19, 2017?  It promises to inspire, equip and unite.

Why attend Amplify!?

Because disability inclusion matters.
It benefits business.
It benefits us all.

Disability Inclusion : More Than Corporate Compliance

CLICK HERE NOW TO REGISTER TODAY! Seats are filling fast for this FREE event!

By: Heidi Dirkse-Graw, MS, CRC, LPC – President/CEO – Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

Disability inclusion in the workplace: More than corporate compliance.

Employers want to hire people with skills, abilities and talents to meet their business need. If business need is not being met, then companies don’t stay in business. Plain and simple.

This is one of the main reasons disability inclusion in the workforce matters. Business does not thrive in a vacuum. It is dependent on supply and demand, available talent and support of its community.

In last week’s blog I wrote about how a diverse workplace which promotes hiring and advancement of workers with disabilities benefits us all, but what I didn’t say, is that it is not easy. For many employers, the laws and regulations designed to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in employment and which encourage greater employment opportunity can be daunting. Translating corporate compliance to solid business practice reflecting the true spirit of non-discrimination, is not easy.

Fortunately, there are organizations like U.S. Business Leadership Network and their local affiliates that band together and inspire, equip and assist businesses in their disability inclusion efforts. Resources such as www.askjan.org also exist to help employers get the training and consultation they need to be successful in hiring and providing reasonable accommodation.

In August this year, I attended the US Business Leadership Network annual conference in Orlando, FL. I kept hearing the phrase, “unconscious bias.” This rang true for me in my experience with employers and honestly, even within myself at times. Most of us hold within ourselves beliefs and opinions that function behind conscious awareness and which sabotage our success in reaching certain goals. I believe that in the realm of disability inclusion that unconscious bias can be insidious and act against our best intentions in hiring.

You might be wondering where to start? I want to invite you to attend AMPLIFY! where you will be among others who are asking the same questions. Join us on October 19th at 8am at Nike WHQ. You can register by CLICKING HERE!

I hope to see you there.

Why attend Amplify!?

Because disability inclusion matters.
It benefits business.
It benefits us all.

Discovering the Benefits of Disability Inclusion

CLICK HERE NOW TO REGISTER TODAY! Seats are filling fast for this FREE event!

By: Heidi Dirkse-Graw, MS, CRC, LPC – President/CEO – Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

Discovering the benefits of disability inclusion in the workplace: My professional journey.

Almost 30 years ago, I began my career as a job developer, helping people with disabilities get their foot in the door of employment. I was just 22 years old at the time and a recent college graduate. Honestly, I barely knew how to find my own job. But what I quickly realized is that I had a gift of seeing the strengths and potential in my clients and every day that I went to work, I smiled. It was a joy helping people grow in confidence, gain greater financial independence and become integrated into their workplace and communities.

What I didn’t understand at that time, was how my work as a job developer changed business in ways I didn’t expect.

I began to realize that when people with disabilities are employed in the community, not only do their lives improve, but so does the workplace. Like ripples of water that begin to disperse 360 degrees around the small rock thrown into a lake, is a workplace that embraces ability and chooses creative ways to help people with disabilities perform work!

Through the years, employers began to talk about their experiences and take pride in being a disability friendly place to work. I heard about increased teamwork, improved processes, and benefits to the bottom line. Workplaces were not only becoming more inclusive and accommodating to my clients whom they hired but also to their own employees with disabilities. I was thrilled!

I have also learned that there are sometimes challenges. Businesses know their business. They don’t always know how to hire and retain qualified applicants with disabilities. Fears and unconscious bias have, at times, closed the door on a company benefiting from the talent before them. Fortunately, many companies I have worked with reach out for support and training. These are the companies that find the benefits of becoming inclusive of people with disabilities in the workplace!

Why attend Amplify!?

Because disability inclusion matters.
It benefits business.
It benefits us all.

Inspire to Be Inclusive

By: Dr. Richard Pimentel, Amplify! Keynote Speaker, Corporate and Motivational Speaker, Comedian, Author

CLICK HERE to register for Amplify today! Seating is limited!

In 1969 I came home to Portland with a significant hearing loss and a traumatic brain injury from combat in Vietnam. My plan had been to serve my country and use the GI Bill to study speech communication under Dr. Ben Padrow at Portland State. In 1969 the VA rehabilitation department had a list of the jobs veterans with my disabilities could do. Professional public speaker was not on that list. I had been excluded not because of who I was, but because of the disability I had. I was refused my educational plan “for my own good.” There is a name for this decision model. It is called exclusion.

I went to see Dr. Padrow to tell him I wouldn’t be able to study under him. He told me, he saw no evidence that I still couldn’t achieve my dreams. He only saw evidence of my being willing to give up on them.

Dr.  Padrow rejected the philosophy of exclusion. Instead he embraced inclusion. Exclusion meant that I would have to achieve my goal alone. Inclusion meant that we would achieve it together. For me, it made all the difference in the world.

Inclusion is the foundation of every aspect of successful organizations. The best practice companies know it by another name “teamwork.”

Historically people with physical and intellectual disabilities have been placed into jobs based using exclusion, not inclusion, considering only the jobs that are assumed to be consistent with their disability. This often means that they are not hired for the jobs that are right for them only the ones that are left. Too often there are few if any left.

By using your organization’s commitment to teamwork, inclusion means that you focus on the person with the disability rather than only on the person’s disability. Your company focuses not only on what they can do to be successful,  but also what your managers, supervisors and team can do as well.

Inclusion is not just a program to “persuade” you to hire persons with disabilities. It is the first step to bringing training and guidance to make your management team full partners in your employee’s success and making your employees full partners in yours.

It will make all the difference in the world not only for your employees but for you as well.

Empower Your Workforce
Affirm Abilities
Amplify Success!