Mosaic in Northern Indiana

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Creating Possibilities: Mike’s Story

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By Danielle Miller, Public Relations Specialist

Despite the fact that there is an overabundance of available jobs in our community, it is still difficult to find employers who are willing to hire people with intellectual disabilities at a fair wage.

Advocating for the individuals who would like to work is extremely important to our agency, as it is across all of Mosaic.

When we have a success story, we are not only proud of the individual who has pursued a meaningful goal but also of our community for taking a step toward inclusion of all community members.

We are excited to celebrate Mike’s new job with a landscaping company. Mike grew up on a farm and was expected to help with chores. This is apparent not only in the fact that he was a natural on a riding mower, but also how quickly he corrects people who mistakenly call his mower a “tractor.” He knows what a real farm tractor is and does not consider a riding lawn mower to be worthy of that title!

Mike was a good candidate for the pilot program our agency organized to create jobs for the individuals receiving services through Mosaic. If employers would not give these folks a chance, then why not create entrepreneurship opportunities for them?

Our Community Relations Manager, Dean Giudice came across a volunteer opportunity through his church. The congregation was looking for volunteers to help with lawn maintenance. A group of 4 men was assembled and the trial crew began their work.

Two men tried and decided it was not their thing after all. The remaining two found the job to be a great fit. While management was overseeing the crew, questions arose on the safety of the men while they were operating the lawn equipment.

It was decided that with the proper safety training they had already received, the “dignity of risk” was worth the experience for these men.

They continued to volunteer their skills and time until Mike was offered a paid position with a lawn care company. He will bring experience, motivation and enthusiasm to his new job. Although, he will be missed by the passersby who grew accustomed to “the man on the mower who waved at everyone.”

There is also the possibility Mosaic will assist the men in creating their own lawn care business in which they solicit paying customers at fair market wages.

There are many more people receiving services through Mosaic who have marketable job skills and a desire to work. We are excited to see what the future holds for them as well.

 

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