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Community Options thanks area businesses for welcoming employees with disabilities into their offices.

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October 15, 2019 | wrcbtv.com

Community Options thanks area businesses for welcoming employees with disabilities into their offices. As they say, everyone deserves the right to work.

Talking about how much fun we have working with each other every day hopefully you have a great work environment as well
part of what makes it a thriving community is to bring diversity into it right well our next guests are here to celebrate some very special co-workers for businesses in town.

Laura beavers Kimberly Wilson who are with community options in Chattanooga good to see you you both good to see you thank you and it's good timing for you to be here because you said this is the month that we celebrate employees who have disabilities yes ma'am October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and what we do at Community options is one of the things as we work with empowering and employing individuals in the community.

I wanted to come on today and just share the fantastic news of all the great partners that we've developed in Chattanooga we have so many people working and diversity and inclusion we've partnered with Wendy's we've partnered with KFC we have partnered with Bass Pro Shop we've partnered with the Chattanooga look-outs for this past season there are some pictures of some of our people working at the look-outs it was just an amazing opportunity we've partnered with Food City on Lee Highway Food City in Hickson so Chattanooga gets really embracing employment and inclusion well you know you talk about dignity for people right and and I was having a conversation with my teenage daughter and one of her friends last week about how there's never a job too small for anyone to do as long as you're working there should be pride associated with that absolutely and this it doesn't matter who you are you should have the right to get a job yes ma'am and so Kimberly in your role at Community options are you working directly with these employers to help place the the workers or answer I don't quite work directly with them I do do some oversight with Laura we tend you know meetings and conferences to help with meet-and-greet and getting employers involved with us and letting them know what we do and you know hoping that they'll support our mission part of what makes a great workforce too though is having good morale yeah yeah so often I don't want to be stereotypical so I'll be careful in the way I say this but very often people who have a disability especially if it's a bit of a mental disability can bring a joy to life that you'd otherwise wouldn't be able to tap into they can be a great mood builder is that fair to say yes ma'am absolutely yes so for people who are watching we have so many new businesses coming into Chattanooga on a regular basis right did they contact you and say look I'm kind of considering this but I have some questions absolutely I would be honored to speak with anyone in the area who has an option and an opportunity for one of our individuals my contact number is on the screen at community options feel free to reach out we would love to partner with any employer because we all find purpose in our work right right and so a lot of the individuals that we serve are some of the most hardworking and eager and just joy I was talking to somebody today who's a small business owner and she was saying one of the most difficult things is finding good employees and people who will just show up yes so to have at your disposal and Arsenal of people who so want the job that's one big hurdle already overcome yes ma'am now Kimberly y'all are doing a fundraiser you have a couple they're looking ahead already to 2020 and a race that you'll have but you're doing an art event on November 1st it's called painting with the purpose the funds that are raised to help support people with disabilities it helps them do things that they probably would never get the opportunity to like vacations and trips outside of Chattanooga trips outside of the state so it provides opportunities like that for them the race is in 2020 but this one is going to be held here in Chattanooga and it's that painting with a twist the picture and everything has has meaning to it kind of like as you're a kid you know you take the dandelions and you make a wish when you blow it yeah that's kind of the picture that we're painting nice so it kind of gives them the dream that most would never have the opportunity you.

Laura and they weren't familiar with you maybe they have a someone in their family who had the disability and they've been trying to help them find a job are there is there an age limit I mean at 16 can you help someone find a job well our program is designed for adults 18 and older that's about it yeah okay and for the employers watching there's no when I say commitment I mean you could hire somebody on a part-time basis or a full-time basis absolutely most of our individuals do prefer part-time work mm-hm because a lot of them it's their first opportunity you know a lot of people with disabilities have been told their whole life so they couldn't work Tennessee is breaking barriers Tennessee is the first state to become a work first day passed legislation that people with a disability deserve the right to work right and so just very honored to get the opportunity to do what I do and in a state that is so proactive the beauty of life is when you can be surrounded by people who are different and you can learn from them and they can learn from you yes ma'aam so yeah who wants just a cookie cutter day day after day right yes ma'am so here's where you can find community relations Community Options sorry my snafu community options Laura and Kimberly certainly know where they work but they're right here in Chattanooga the phone number and website there on your screen and if you call them they can tell you more about the painting with a twist event on November 1st what a great way to give back even if you were just an individual watching today thank you thank you

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