Business Spotlight
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Providing businesses with education, awareness and resources to promote the successful employment of people with disabilities.

Business Spotlight


In the BRN newsletter, we tell the stories of local businesses that employ people with disabilities, the accommodations they provide, and the contributions those employees make. Read about our most recently featured businesses here.


 

St. Francis House
St. Francis House


The St. Francis House has 30 employees, including five who have disabilities.  Employees have physical, mental health and developmental disabilities and hold the titles of Assistant Director, Volunteer Coordinator, House Assistant and Kitchen Assistants.  St. Francis House provides workplace accommodations such as part-time hours and flexible scheduling.  They have also purchased special equipment such as a large monitor for a past employee with a visual limitation and a platform desk to allow for sitting and standing.  

Executive Director, Julie Becker, has been hiring employees with disabilities at the St. Francis House for 16 years.  She feels her mission is to help people with disabilities obtain and maintain employment in the community.  "Once I became the individual who could make the decision on hiring, I have been committed to creating a diverse work environment, which includes working with people with disabilities.  During all these years, we have observed employing people with disabilities has been a significant part of the success of our agency.  Our employees are dedicated to coming to work each day, are grateful to be part of our team and have so many amazing talents to offer to our agency.  The St. Francis House would not be who we are without all of our past and current employees," states Julie.  

The St. Francis House has worked directly with Vocational Rehabilitation for many years to recruit employees.  Several clients of LifeScape come to the St. Francis House to volunteer their time.  These volunteers assist with the kitchen team to make sack lunches for their guests who take them to work.  They appreciate the opportunity to come into St. Francis House and give back to help others.

When asked if employing people with disabilities has affected their company culture, Julie shares,  "Most definitely.  We have many guests who complain about their jobs and our employees with disabilities share their struggle with finding supportive employers in the community.  This helps our guests see things through someone else's experiences.  Our employees who have disabilities share their experiences in staff meetings and have made some of the best suggestions to improve our operations."  
 
The St. Francis House is always looking for people who want to be a part of their team.  There are part-time and full-time positions available.  To apply, stop by for an application, email Julie at director@stfrancishouse.com or apply online at www.stfrancishouse.com.  If there is a need for assistance filling out an application, there are supportive employees at the St. Francis House that can provide help.
 

Schulte Subaru
Schulte Subaru


Mary Jayne has been employed at Schulte Subaru as an office assistant for three years and is considered a role model to her coworkers because of her work ethic and enthusiasm.  
 
You have most likely seen Mary Jayne with owners of Schulte Subaru, Mike and Sarah Schulte, on their commercial.  Mike and Sarah's goal was to use this commercial to promote and encourage other businesses to employ people with disabilities.  Sarah shared that many businesses have reached out to them wanting to know the steps to take to hire people with disabilities.  Contacting Business Resource Network is a great place to start!  We can assist with recruitment and provide staff training and resources to make the process as easy as possible.  Call Vicki Stewart at 605-215-1760 or email her at director@sfbrn.org.

As I witnessed first-hand, Mary Jayne is fully included in the workplace culture at Schulte Subaru.  They hosted a birthday party for Mary Jayne's milestone birthday in their conference room and invited all employees to attend. It was a great celebration!

Mary Jayne makes key chains for Schulte Subaru's customers and puts files together for the finance department two days a week.  Mike Schulte worked with LifeScape to customize a position to best fit Mary Jayne's skills and abilities.  Her coworkers describe her as a "hard worker who is very conscientious about completing her tasks in a timely manner."  I think all businesses are looking for employees like that!
 

MasterBrand
MasterBrand

MasterBrand has 14,000 employees throughout their various locations and over 500 at their Sioux Falls location.  Approximately ten employees have disabilities that include hearing loss/deafness, physical disabilities and mental health issues.  All positions are available to those with disabilities, but currently there are employees with disabilities in manufacturing and office positions.  One associate with a disability has been with MasterBrand for over twenty years.

Reasonable accommodations that have been provided to employees with disabilities who need them include flexible work and break schedules, written instructions, special equipment as needed and sign language interpreters for company meetings.  MasterBrand has always been a disability friendly employer.  They continually work on providing a diverse and inclusive workplace for team members.

Currently MasterBrand has several production positions such as builders, sanders, machine operators, warehouse workers, and sprayers they are trying to fill in Sioux Falls.  The positions are available on both the 1st and 2nd shift.  Applicants can apply online by going to https://smrtr.io/5b_iQ. If anyone needs assistance filling out an application, they can call 605-335-8600 or stop in at 700 E. 48th St. N.  

 

Dairy Queen
Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen at Crossing Place currently has 22 employees and 7-10 have some type of disability.  Employees have learning disabilities, autism, cognitive disabilities, and hearing impairments.  Employees with disabilities clean, work directly with customers, and make products.  Some team members with disabilities have moved up to management level.  General Manager, Shawn Beck states, “I enjoy working with all employees to find their abilities and work with them to be the best they can be.”

Shawn has provided accommodations such as flexible scheduling, written instructions, verbal instructions, guided learning and pairing individuals with a work partner.  Shawn has been the General Manager since February, but the store had a long-standing relationship with LifeScape and other organizations to employ individuals with disabilities.

Dairy Queen has cleaning positions available from 7:00-10:00 AM on weekdays and Saturdays.  There is also an open night-time team member position.  People can apply online at www.fourteenfoods.com by clicking the employment tab and finding their location at 5001 S. Crossing Place.  If people with disabilities need assistance with applying, they can come in for a paper application and receive assistance.

When asked about the benefits of employing people with disabilities, Shawn says, “People with disabilities are fun and amazing people to work with.  They are really hard working to make sure they do their best.”

Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack
Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack

Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack has twenty plus people in their “brew crew.” Over twenty of them have cognitive and physical disabilities. Their entire “brew crew” performs all tasks required on the job including making coffee, smoothies, frappes, cleaning the shop, taking orders, and operating the cash register. 

In their building process, they made a conscious effort to ensure access for everyone, because their intent from the beginning was to employ people with disabilities. When asked what the benefits are of employing people of all abilities, owner Kathy Luke stated, “We have an exceptional team of people with different abilities that make our entire operation possible. Our ‘brew crew’ has a heightened awareness for great 

customer service, cleanliness, and overall attention to detail. They appreciate the opportunity to work and be challenged in their job.”

A handful of their employees have job coaches from various agencies to assist them on the job. The coaches stop by throughout the week to check in with their clients.

Even though all positions are currently full, Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack is always taking applications. They have applications they can send via email along with a traditional paper application. If anyone needs assistance completing an application, assistance is available. They review applications in the order they are received, and interview as needed. 

Raven Industries
Raven Industries

Raven Industries employs 1,317 people in 20 locations.  Thirty two of their employees have disabilities including both physical and mental health disabilities.  They are Team Members in manufacturing, clerical and professional positions.  All positions are available to job seekers with disabilities.  Some accommodations that have been provided to their Team Members with disabilities include flexible schedules,  frequent breaks, and special equipment.  Raven Industries has also adjusted work spaces to accommodate employees with disabilities.

Raven Industries has always been a disability friendly employer.  They continually work on providing a diverse and inclusive workplace for Team Members.  

Dawn Ingalls, Human Resource Manager at Raven Industries, states, "We recently worked with Vicki Nelson, District Supervisor of the Division of Rehabilitation Services Sioux Falls office, to better understand the on-the-job training and job coaching services that are offered to candidates and employers.  It was very helpful to understand the roles and responsibilities of each!"  

In the midst of COVID-19, Raven Industries' hiring has slowed down a bit, but there are still positions available.  Interested parties can view their open positions at https://ravenind.com/careers.  If candidates need assistance completing the application, they can call 605-336-2750.

Dawn Ingalls adds, "Our Team Members with disabilities are great!  They are committed to their responsibilities within Raven Industries and to the success of our business."

Apple Tree Children's Centers
Apple Tree Children's Centers

 

Apple Tree Children's Centers employ 65 people at their east side location.  They are cleaners, maintenance workers, teachers and administrators.  Currently, four employees have intellectual disabilities.  Their responsibilities include labeling book orders, organizing and disinfecting toys, cleaning and putting supplies away.  One accommodation that has been provided is a more flexible work schedule that allows extra time to perform certain tasks.

Lisa Carson, director of Apple Tree Children's Centers, began employing people with disabilities in October 2017 when she was approached by Teachwell Solutions.  Teachwell's Job and Career Development program offers a number of supports to career-bound high school students and adults seeking employment. She has also worked with the Sioux Falls School District and LifeScape to employ people with disabilities through Project Skills.  Project Skills is a paid work experience program for high school students with disabilities.  It is a cooperative agreement between the state vocational rehabilitation agencies and the local school districts.  It provides students the opportunity to learn different skills in a variety of job placements with the assistance of a job coach.  When asked what benefits she sees in employing people with disabilities, Lisa states, "They have a strong work ethic, increase diversity and boost staff morale."  

Avera
Avera

There are 18,000 employees across the Avera system.  Some of the benefits they see in employing people with disabilities include making a difference in the communities where they are located and sharing knowledge about others with disabilities to better serve that population.

Avera has worked with other agencies to promote the success of their employees with disabilities.  New employees have had job coaches who assist with on-the-job training during their orientation period.  The Division of Rehabilitation Services has given guidance to job providers who are assisting their clients through the application process as well.

Currently, Avera has numerous positions they are trying to fill.  The positions fall under categories such as: Clerical/Administrative, Nursing Professionals RN/LPN, Nursing Support, Support Services, and Technical/Professional.  Positions are listed on their on-line site at www.avera.org/careers/ and are kept up to date. 

Applicants can apply on-line as well as completing a paper application.  Avera highly recommends applicants apply on-line as it will save all the information they have submitted on their application.  In addition, the on-line application allows Avera to be more interactive with the applicant during the interview and hiring process. 

If job applicants with disabilities need assistance filling out an application, they can go to the Talent Acquisition Office, 1000 East 41st Street, where there are computers to utilize. Staff there can assist with the process.

Kaleb Kauffman is one employee at Avera who happens to have a disability.  He is a Cafeteria Attendant and started working at Avera in 2015.  He works 40 hours a week.  When asked what he likes most about his job, Kaleb replied, “I just like helping patients and guests in the cafeteria- and keeping things clean and ready to go for them.  I know people want to see clean, germ-free facilities and have fresh food, so I try to provide that.  I like to help people- putting smiles on their faces and making them feel right at home.  If I don’t know an answer, I will get someone who can help.” 

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