What precipitated Morningside’s closing the sheltered workshop – client expressed need and their desire live and work like everyone else in the community. All successful companies regularly look to their customers to determine how they are going to provide great service so Morningside’s planning and moving to close the workshop really was no different. A survey conducted by Dr. David Mank formally a professor with the University of Oregon (David is currently the Director of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University) surveyed our clients and 80% responded that they wanted to work in the community.
Our board, funders, leadership and leaders in the disability community joined together and pledged to move forward with a plan to move all the clients in our sheltered program to the community in 5 years. We dubbed the plan “Bridge to Community” as we were crossing over from segregated large group services to small, individual, integrated community employment.
Through a huge effort, and commitment by all parties we succeeded and on June 24, 2004 held a celebration at our old facility commemorating the monumental event that just occurred – ending sheltered services. Former Secretary of State Ralph Munro a long time supporter of our program but recognized statewide as a tireless advocate on behalf of citizens with disabilities was our keynote speaker. Dennis Braddock then the Secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services spoke as did Todd Wagner an employer as well as Jeannette Loutzenheizer the first Executive Director of Morningside. All concurred that this was indeed a milestone and a dream long held that people with significant disabilities can and should work in the community. This was indeed a true paradigm shift on how we now viewed and delivered service.
CEO Viewpoint is published by Jim Larson, CEO Morningside
This space is intended to share my thoughts and update the community on issues concerning Morningside and its clients as well sharing inspirational employment stories.
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