Morningside Stories

Celebrating our Employer Partners & Client's Successes

News & Announcements

20 Years of Partnership with Port Angeles Safeway

Michael LaGrange, Manager, Port Angeles Safeway (store 1492) is an exemplary leader, employing over 22 individuals with disabilities. He has been recognized by the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment in 2017 with a statewide award for his practice of hiring and supporting individuals with disabilities. He is a catalyst for change, recognizing that people with disabilities need a voice and employment, and his voice is strong in recognizing the value and normalcy of individuals with disabilities.

Morningside began its partnership with Safeway in 2004, to provide opportunities for supported employment clients to gain work experience and employment. Mike has employed 22 individuals with significant disabilities, 13 of whom are supported by Morningside. Two of the employees we support have been there for over 14 years.

Having worked with individuals with disabilities in the past, Michael wasn’t new to the prospect of hiring an individual with a disability, but a chance meeting at a martial arts studio gave him a new outlook in terms of how he viewed individuals with disabilities. Michael met Ryan Brooke (left in picture) competing for his black belt and Ryan indicted he was looking for work. Michael said he enjoyed Ryan and thought he was an affable person. He hired him since he had this great personality and thought he would be a good fit in his store. Other staff reacted by questioning this new person. “It struck me that I had a community of employees that viewed people with disabilities as a liability, that we are doing them a favor. That they are not worth a paycheck, that we are carrying them along," Michael said. This response strengthened his resolve to look inside the person not the disability and change the culture of his store. He recognized Ryan as someone who would add value to Safeway and the workforce. He has continued this philosophy as he has hired more and more people with disabilities.

“It opened my eyes to how I work with individuals with disabilities. It opened my eyes to the possibilities, how I perceived peoples potential. If you manage a token employee then you are going to get a token performance but if you manage a person and ask them to do their best and get the best out of them then you have a good employee. There is an inherent joy in giving a person with a disability an opportunity that you know wouldn’t be there without you," Michael said.

“This is a segment of our population that has been neglected and underrepresented in our workforce. They have historically been underutilized, marginalized and minimalized.” Michael is a strong advocate for people with disabilities.

Outstanding Employers Award

Washington Association of Counties

The Washington State Association of Counties is a new partner but a great one, finding ways to extend a role tied to legislative session into a permanent position.

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Outstanding Employers Award

NW Diesel is 2021's Outstanding Employer!

Derek Black, owner of NW Diesel, supported Bruce Voss's journey from a part-time janitorial role to a skilled mechanic, fostering his development and seamless integration into the team with steadfast support and guidance.

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Client Successes

Congratulations, Corbin!

We've had the honor of supporting Corbin and their amazing work in our community for the last twelve years.

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