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Finding confidence through employment: 'Let's Work!' helps adults with disabilities join workforce

Bethany Allcox and Rose Baez Rios in the Let's Work! classroom
Posted at 12:00 AM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 01:01:17-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — From cleaning and maintenance, to workplace etiquette and relationships, Bethany Allcox and Rose Baez Rios have learned a lot of skills over the past few years.

“Gives me confidence," said Allcox. "I’m very happy inside and I like to work.”

“I like doing job experience," said Baez Rios. “It’s new friends and new family.”

Curative Connections’ Let’s Work! program gives these skills to adults with disabilities in our community. With October being National Disability Employment Month, Sean Franken, Team Lead for Let’s Work!, wants to show the untapped potential that these adults can bring to our local workforce.

“Our clients can do anything they set their mind to," said Franken. "They have the work ethic. Everyone in the program wants to work. A lot of times when our participants enter the program, they've been told that their opportunities for employment are limited, and the great thing about our program is they honestly come here and see that in actuality, they have limitless opportunities.”

Clients will go on to work at places like restaurants, grocery stores and warehouses, he said.

“There's honestly no better feeling than seeing a client go through the program, gain the confidence in the work skills and then reach their goal of community employment.”

They even have the chance to pick up manufacturing skills, through a partnership with Pro Solutions Inc., a contract manufacturing organization that partners with companies all around Wisconsin.

“Manufacturing is a little bit of a scary opportunity for people that haven't been in the workforce that do have disabilities," said Chris Steier, Vice President. "We offer an environment where they can excel and get that real life training, because some of them have those skills that they can get out there and do that in the community, they just need a little bit of experience, a little bit of confidence.”

Jobs in manufacturing clients are hired for include cleaning as well as light assembly, like packing objects into boxes, erecting boxes or counting items. With companies everywhere facing worker shortages, Steier encourages more employers to hire people like Bethany and Rose.

“It's something I wish more companies would partner with," he said. "And we just want to highlight that [what] we are doing, it is successful, and it can be done. When we see people that come from the Let’s Work! program and they're just excited to be there, it's a great uplifting for us.”