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You are viewing 20 posts with the tag Employment Solutions

David Gets an Awesome Job!

Recently, UCP’s Supported Employment division (Employment Solutions) helped one of their customers, David, secure a job working at the nearby Thatcher’s Restaurant & Lounge!

David is a good example of a person who was capable of working but who was unsure of what he might do for work. For many years, he used UCP’s community inclusion services. But he was also interested in paid employment.

Ursula Morton (one of UCP’s Employment Specialists) met with David weekly for three months. She engaged him in community work experiences so that she could get to know his skills and abilities, and so that he could learn more about the work world.

After that, Ursula was able to build an appealing resume, highlighting the skills David had acquired at his community-based positions.

And, a mere 10 days later, Ursula was assisting David to sign his hire paperwork at Thatcher’s! Congrats to David and everyone who worked to get him this job.

Find out more about being an Employment Specialist (like Ursula) here.

UCP Staffer Pens Article for Spokane Living Magazine

Click the link below to read a recently published article from Spokane Living Magazine, on the state of employment in the inland northwest region of Oregon for people experiencing developmental disabilities.  The piece was written by UCP Employment Solutions, Employment Specialist, Paul K. Haeder.

Source:  Haeder, Paul K., (2015, April), MetroTalk.  Retrieved from http://www.spokanecda.com

Congratulations To Melissa and Our Supported Employment Department

We are pleased to congratulate Melissa Miller, the head of Employment Solutions (UCP's supported employment department), on reaching ten years of employment at UCP.

Melissa has been employed by UCP since April 30, 2003. She started as a Roommate (live-in caregiver) for one of the people we support. Since then, she has made a huge impact on many of the people we support and the disability community at large.

In 2005, Melissa assisted with the creation of our supported employment services. The program is known today as Employment Solutions and is revered as a model of best practices in Oregon. 

If you’ve had the privilege of working with Melissa, please make sure to congratulate her on ten years and her many successes!

Find out more about Employment Solutions here and learn more about Melissa here.

Congratulations to Chris

UCP’s Supported Employment division (Employment Solutions) assists qualified job seekers who experience a disability to connect with employers who value what they bring to the workplace.

One of the people being supported now is Chris. A couple years ago, Chris hired UCP and Melissa to help him work toward his goal getting his dream job, which is to repair computers and work in a small shop.

Melissa and Chris met regularly to work on employment-related skills such as improving his hygiene and social skills, how to show up on time, and how to set appropriate work place expectations. Then they worked on pursuing related experience for him. First, he participated in Free Geek’s Computer Build program.  He was assisted at Free Geek by Melissa and other UCP staff, who assisted him to learn the tasks and interface with his American Sign Language Interpreter. Chris is proud to announce that he just received his certificate and earned a free computer!

Chris also completed a two-week unpaid work assessment at a Gresham computer repair shop called East Wind Computers. He did a good job, but Roger (the owner), thought he needed more training before he’d be a competitive applicant for related jobs, so Roger offered Chris an unpaid internship! This is a very special opportunity for Chris to learn all about computers by working closely with the best in the industry.

Chris is also connected with Vocational Rehabilitation, who provide him with a variety of resources such as an employment mentor, interpreters and a cell phone so he can text with his support team and stay accountable.  

It’s taken a lot of resources for Chris to get where he is today but it’s well worth it! We wish Chris the best of luck on his journey.

Learn more about East Wind here. And don’t forget to support this wonderful company the next time you need your computer updated, cleaned or repaired!

Hire Brock Today!

UCP's Employment Solutions program assists qualified job seekers who experience a disability to connect with employers who value what they bring to the workplace. Since the department's inception in 2006, Employment Solutions has supported over 100 individuals in their job search journey. Our goal is to help them find, secure, and keep employment.

One of our current job seekers is named Brock, and he would love to get a job. Below, in Brock's own words, is what Brock wants you to know...

Do you know of a good job opening for Brock? Contact Brock's Job Developer, .

Hi!  My name is Brock L. Turner and I have been working with Job Developer Nicholas Von Pless for the past 3 months.  I am a soon-to-be 33 years old (birthday on January 27th!) adult with Asperger’s Syndrome/High Functioning Autism, and currently serving as a member of the Adults Subcommittee on the Governors’ Task Force on Autism.  I have a two-year Associate’s of Arts Oregon Transfer (A.A.O.T.) degree from Portland Community College and have also completed a two-year Work Force Career Pathways Pharmacy Technician Training Program, also from PCC. 

I am currently seeking employment in the greater Portland/Vancouver metro area.  I am an Oregon State Licensed Pharmacy Technician, and I also possess national certification.  Part of my two-year training for a Pharmacy Technician Career included a three-month full-time, forty hours per week onsite externship working at Walgreens Pharmacy as a Pharmacy Tech.  In addition to my education and training for pharmacy work, I also have a history of clerical/administrative and customer service work.

I spent approximately three and a half years from September 2004 to January 2008 working as a Customer Service Representative at the Affiliated Computer Services (A.C.S.), Inc. Call Center off NE Sandy Blvd & NE 181st Ave in Gresham, OR.  I also worked doing various temporary staffing duties including data entry, filing, telephone reception, and other clerical tasks.  My primary career goal is to work in a pharmacy, but I am in a place of keeping an open mind to possible job opportunities. 

My long term goals include finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at PSU (in conjunction with working full time), and am currently the elected Vice Chair of the Multnomah County Young Democrats. 

Some other clerical/administrative work experience I have as working as a volunteer, intern and occasional paid employee for a variety of political campaigns.  Work with these campaigns includes multi-line telephone experience, fundraising and sales, writing, composing and editing Letters to the Editor and Opinion/Editorial work for various newspapers, filing and stuffing envelopes, phone polling, data entry, and direct face-to-face canvassing and assisting to register new voters and assist registered voters to cast their ballots.

I pride myself on being a good proponent and advocate for persons with Asperger’s/Autism and feel I can help promote a diverse and harmonious work environment.  Please feel free to view my resume at any time!


    • Brock

On the Job For 90 Days

In Employment Solutions, UCP's supported employment division, we support adults with disabilities so that they can find and keep their dream jobs. Employment Solutions is pleased to announce that one of our customers, Max, has successfully completed 90 days working as a Service Agent at Enterprise Rent a Car!

Max has made a plethora of new friends at work and Max's supervisor, Allison, says that Max is an “easy-going, dedicated hard worker." Congrats to Max on a stellar 90 days! Keep up the good work!

To find out more about Employment Solutions, click here.

Village Ballroom Keeps It Clean

Are you planning a fundraiser? Maybe a wedding? Perhaps a concert, reception, banquet, ball, or zumba class? Consider booking your next event at The Village Ballroom in Northeast Portland. Owner Ryan Saari partnered with UCP’s supported employment program (Employment Solutions) and recently hired Travis to keep this historic landmark in pristine condition.

Travis cleans the picturesque ballroom that once hosted a nationally famous pool hall frequented by the infamous Fats Domino. Travis also washes the huge windows that look over Dekum Street, where the Dekum Streetcar ran back in the early 1900s. Today, there is no streetcar or Fats Domino, but The Village Ballroom is extremely busy. Luckily, Travis is there Monday through Thursday mornings to make sure everyone can fully enjoy the space.

Later this year, owner Ryan Saari will be opening the downstairs portion of the ballroom as The Oregon Public House, purported to be the world’s first non-profit brewpub. Every quarter, Saari will select up to five local non-profits, and equally donate all the net proceeds. Travis will be working down there, too.

Please support employers who value a diverse workplace. Visit The Village Ballroom’s website here.

    • Travis

Meet Tino & Tyler

Congratulations to Tino and Tyler, who have recently completed their first ninety days of employment at Lowe’s in Wood Village.

One of UCP’s Employment Specialists, Nicholas Von Pless, worked with Lowe’s HR Manager, Mary Walker, to secure positions as Loaders for both Tino and Tyler. Their positions involve loading large parcels into customers’ vehicles, spotting for forklifts, and assisting customers to locate different items while delivering a high level of customer service. Without fail, Tyler always thanks his customers with a firm handshake. Tino responds to calls on his walkie-talkie with the speed of a cheetah.

Tino feels such a sense of pride and independence working at Lowe’s that he is now making the transition from foster care to his own apartment. Tyler has exceeded the expectations on every shift, and his manager is currently pressing to make him a full-time staff member. Stop in on the weekends and say hi!

Please support employers who value a diverse workplace. Visit this Lowe location at 1000 Wood Village Boulevard, Wood Village, OR 97060


    • Tyler
    • Tino
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A Neighborhood Gym Stretches Its Horizons

UCP’s supported employment program (Employment Solutions) assists people who experience developmental disabilities to find, secure, and keep employment. All jobs are competitive and pay fair wages.

Andrew is an intelligent, hard-working, and amiable young man. He and his mother are members of the Cascade Athletic Club, and Andrew has been volunteering there since January. Andrew has proven himself a valuable contributor. He cleaned and sanitized with impeccable attention to detail, and club members and employees alike enjoyed his presence. He even had a new nametag; it read Sir Andrew.

A couple months ago, Nicholas Von Pless (an Employment Specialist at UCP) started supporting Andrew. Andrew told him that one of his goals was to earn money at the club, so Nicholas met with Scott, the club manager, to see if Andrew could find a pathway to employment. Scott said that Andrew brought great value to the club, but that possible employment was still far off – maybe not even until the fall!

Luckily, Nicholas had ideas about how to ensure that Andrew was able to secure paid employment.  Nicholas reinforced Andrew’s training and expanded his responsibilities. Then Nicholas talked with Scott about Andrew’s increased productivity.

The next day, Scott offered a paid position to Andrew. Today, you can find Andrew on weekday mornings vacuuming, cleaning, doing equipment repairs, and greeting all the members.

Please support employers who value a diverse workplace. Visit Cascade Athletic Club’s website here.

    • Andrew

Happy Anniversary!

UCP's supported employment program (Employment Solutions) helps people with disabilities find, secure, and keep great jobs.

Two of our job seekers are celebrating on-the-job anniversaries this month.

April marks Renea's one year anniversary at Supportland. Renea works from home folding rewards cards for this amazing mom and pop small business! (Find out more about Supportland-- a rewards program for local businesses here).

April also marks Sam's three month anniversary of successful employment at Roots Toddler Community. Sam monitors the children while they sleep and alerts the teacher when they wake up. He also engages with them as they tell stories, play, and sing songs. At the end of the day, he assist them to get ready to go home. (Visit Roots Toddler Community's Facebook page here).

Congratulations to Sam and Renea!

    • Sam Enjoying a Story
    • Renea Delivering Supplies
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Supported Employment in Oregon: An Update

Did you know that there are more than 10,000 individuals who experience developmental disabilities in Oregon?  Many of them want to have meaningful work, but according to recent estimates:

  • only 7% of them are employed in competitive, meaningful jobs,
  • and only 25% are involved in ANY type of work or work alternative.


To ensure that adults with disabilities are able to find meaningful employment, the State of Oregon began an Employment First initiative in 2010. Find out more about the initiative here.

UCP is proud to support Employment First. The tenants of this initiative are as follows:

  • Everyone can work and there is a job for everyone. Our job is to be creative and tenacious in providing support.
  • Not working should be the exception. All individuals, schools, families and businesses must raise their expectations.
  • People will be hired because of their ability not because they have a disability.
  • Communities embrace people who contribute.
  • Everyone has something to contribute and needs to contribute.
  • People are healthier, safer and happiest with meaningful work.
  • True employment is not a social service.
  • Employment is a win/win for everybody.


These goals mesh nicely with the goal of UCP's supported employment program (Employment Solutions), which is to support adults with developmental disabilities to identify, obtain and retain meaningful and competitive employment from community businesses.

Employment Solutions staff provide as little or as much support as is needed, including skills assessments, assistance writing resumes and cover letters, mock interviews, finding job shadowing and volunteer experiences, providing on-the-job coaching, and assistance negotiating for promotions.

To learn more about Employment Solutions, click here.

UCP Is Growing!

Thanks to a grant from Meyer Memorial Trust, UCP will be hiring a fourth full-time Employment Specialist.

Meyer Memorial Trust invests in people, ideas and efforts that deliver significant social benefit to Oregon and Clark County, Washington.

If you'd like to learn more about the position--and to possibly apply--please click here.

UCP Secures $150,000 In New Funding

In June of 2011, UCP submitted a proposal to Meyer Memorial Trust, which was created by the late Fred G. Meyer. The Trust invests in people, ideas and efforts that deliver significant social benefit to Oregon and Clark County, Washington.

In our proposal, we requested $150,000 ($50,000 per year for 3 years) to increase the capacity of our supported employment program, which is known as Employment Solutions. Employment Solutions assists adults with developmental disabilities to identify, obtain and retain competitive employment from community businesses.

We are pleased to announce that our efforts were successful, and that we have been awarded the $150,000! We will use this funding to hire three new Job Developers (one per year), which will allow us to support far more people in our program.

Employment is such an important part of life. As we stated in our proposal to Meyer Memorial Trust, “A job can dramatically change the dynamics of an individual's life—providing a structure to the day, a paycheck…, an identity as a contributing member of the community, an increase in personal self-esteem, expanded choices, and opportunities to develop…relationships. Employment is an avenue to a richer and fuller life.”


The History of UCP’s Supported Employment Program


UCP first began providing supported employment in 2007, when we received a grant from the United Way. Since then, we have supported hundreds of adults as they progressed towards employment.

Key features of UCP’s supported employment program are: 

  1. Real work: Work that would be performed by someone without a disability.
  2. Real wages: Pay that is commensurate to wages paid for comparable work performed by someone without a disability.
  3. Integrated work environment: Most coworkers are people without disabilities who work in close proximity and regularly interact with employees with disabilities.
  4. Ongoing support: Supported employment assumes that people with developmental disabilities will need some support ongoing over time, and that support can come from a variety of sources, including coworkers.

Special Thanks

The funding from Meyer Memorial Trust will allow us to double the capacity of our program. We are very excited to get started on this project.

We wish to give a special thanks to everyone at Meyer Memorial Trust, especially Kim Thomas. We also wish to thank the UCP Board members and UCP employees who were involved in completion and presentation of the proposal. And, of course, we wish to thank Jamie Snider, who contracted with us to write the grant, for doing such an excellent job presenting UCP’s history and culture, and, of course, our goals for the project.

Sam's New Job


As you may know, UCP has an employment division, Employment Solutions, that supports adults with disabilities to find and keep their dream jobs.

Here is one of Employment Solutions' newest success stories. Congratulations, Sam!

  • New Employee: Sam Vranizan
  • Employer: Roots Toddler Community
  • First Day of Work: January 9, 2012
  • Job Duties: Monitor children while they sleep, alert teacher when they awake, transition children from nap to snack and help children get ready to go.
  • Most Extraordinary Aspect of Sam’s Job:  Sam uses a computer (called an Echo) to communicate with the children. The children listen to him, respect him and treat him like a friend.

    • Sam 2
    • Sam 1
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Derek Celebrates 90 Days on the Job

    • Derek 2
    • Derek
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Derek Schutt, who is supported by UCP's supported employment department (Employment Solutions), is celebrating 90 days on the job! Congratulations, Derek.

He is in janatorial services at All About Automotive. Derek says,“I really like my job, and I love cars. Yeah, it’s really nice here.”

Employment Solutions Event a Great Success

Employment Solutions, UCP's supported employment program, recently hosted the first annual AbilityAware event. The purpose of the event was to honor employers who have hired individuals with disabilities. Twenty-four local employers were invited to receive an award!

Everyone gathered at The Cleaners (owned by the Ace Hotel) in Downtown Portland. Four employed individuals (Renea Azeltine, Phillip Klover, Dan Waugh and Jacque Straub) and their managers told their employment stories, talking about what it's like to work together at Supportland, Whole Foods, Sugar Wheel Works and Hippocrate's Secrets. Renea, Phillip, Dan and Jacque did an amazing job delivering their speeches.

UCP's Executive Director, Bud Thoune, was a featured speaker. As he later said, "It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past concept of supported employment, and to envision an even better future." Forty years ago when Bud first started at UCP, if people with disabilities were employed, they were often employed in "enclaves" or "sheltered workshops". In other words: places that were segregated from the community. This event highlighted how far society (and UCP) has come--supported employment can and should look radically different than a workshop or enclave.

After the speeches were delivered, a video of three job-seekers was shown. The video production was donated by Grandient Productions, and featured Valentino Guerrero, Rachel Black and Tyler Chism. Rachel was present at the event, and was approached by an employer and offered an interview! Here's a link to the video on YouTube.

During the award ceremony, all the employers came to the front of the room to be honored. A standing ovation erupted from the crowd. Everyone in the room felt the power of employment! The event got such positive reviews that we plan to do it annually.

UCP would like to thank the hardworking members of Employment Solutions who made this event possible: Melissa Miller, Sheila Forget, Nicholas Von Pless, and Xochil Springer. All of them managed to provide excellent services to their customers while simultaneously planning a huge event that totally rocked! Thank you all! 

John Gets Hired!

We are excited to announce that John, who is supported by UCP's Supported Employment Department, was just hired as a dishwasher at The Highcliffe restaurant in Oregon City.

John has been job-hunting for 1.5 years, and this will be John’s first paid job. Over 120 people applied for positions at the Highcliffe--way to go, John, for getting one of these coveted positions!  And way to go Xochil Springer, John's UCP Job Developer!

The Highcliffe is a new high-end bistro in the heart of Oregon City.  Make sure to stop by and admire some sparkling dishware, courtesy of John.

Dan gets hired at Sugar Wheel Works

We are happy to announce that Dan, who has been supported by UCP's Supported Employment Department, has been hired at Sugar Wheel Works as a shop attendant!

Employment Specialist Xochil Springer tells us that Dan recently completed a four week internship; the owner was so impressed by Dan's skills that an internship ended up being a permanent job.

Dan’s position is vital to the shop, and he truly enjoys what he does. The team at Sugar builds awesome bicycle wheels by hand. Want to learn more? Visit Sugar Wheelworks' website

Congrats, Dan!

Employment Solutions on Facebook


Employment Solutions now has a Facebook page – “like” us to stay up-to-date on new hires and advocacy articles for individuals with disabilities.  

Visit the site here!

A New Job

Eleanor is a recent high school graduate who has been working with UCP's Employment Solutions division to find a great job. We are happy to report that she was recently hired at New Seasons on 33rd& Killingsworth.

As Eleanor reports, “People with disabilities have feelings like everyone else – they should be out in the community and not in sheltered workshops. I love my new job – I love talking with customers and helping them.”

Please support New Seasons and other businesses who hire people with disabilities!