Morningside, a nonprofit community rehabilitation program based in Olympia, has been helping people with disabilities for nearly 50 years. The organization works with companies in five Western Washington counties to find good fits for their clients with the various companies. Annually, Morningside helps nearly 500 clients with disabilities find jobs.
The placement has to be a good fit for the relationship to be successful. The Morningside staff works with the client to assess what they want to do. The staff will then go out to the business with the client to see how the individual fits in the organization. Morningside staff will train them on the job at no cost to the employer. Morningside will usually carve the job out of an existing process in the company. Many of the jobs include tasks that can be accomplished by a client with limited skills. The fit should be an enhancement for company production and also help to free up a staff person for other duties.
Morningside will work with businesses that aren’t sure where to start. Morningside staff will come out to do a free site assessment. This allows them to understand how work is accomplished in the business. Morningside will also train the staff people at the business on how to help the client with the job. The organization is on-call to help out with anything the business may need for the client. The aim is to make sure the business gets a person that is of economic benefit to them.
The success and longevity of Morningside is based on their innovation. The organization is not afraid to try new things and they have pushed the boundaries for how their clients can be served. Nearly a decade ago, Morningside closed their shelter workshop, where their clients would work in a group setting, and started to have clients work in businesses in the community. As a result, Thurston County has the best outcome of any county in the state of having people with disabilities work in the community. Washington has the most success for inclusion of adults with disabilities in the workplace of any state in the nation.