March 25 2013
(Above) A man uses adaptive equipment to perform his job at the Eisenhower Center. Click the player to hear from another long-time employee.
Employment is about more than a paycheck. As much as it may seem like a grind some days, having a job brings a special sense of independence and dignity that almost everyone desires.
And it’s no different for people with developmental disabilities.
Every year, hundreds of people find work at the Eisenhower Center on Milwaukee’s north side. It subcontracts work to its employees, all of whom are disabled, allowing them to work according to their ability.
From simple item assembly and packaging, to counting and sorting objects by color, the workers embrace jobs that non-disabled people may find tedious.
“They don’t have that same boredom factor,” said Executive Director Barbara Rowland. “They enjoy coming out, they really like work, and they have such a great attitude.”
The center employs people with a wide range of special needs, from blindness to more serious disabilities like cerebral palsy. And almost all of them are in wheelchairs and use adaptive equipment to get the job done.
But the employees aren’t just there for work.
Instead, they’re considered clients, receiving help with personal tasks other employers cannot normally accommodate. Trained staff helps the clients to feed themselves or to use the bathroom, and they provide one-on-one work support on the production line.
In addition to its work services program, the center also offers adult day services and an education program.
Click the podcast player below to hear from a long-time employee.