In 2010, O Bee Credit Union partnered with Morningside, a nonprofit community rehabilitation program that provides employment services to individuals with disabilities. The credit union was skeptical that they would have any jobs that developmentally disabled individuals could perform. After Morningside conducted an audit of the branch, they identified simple tasks that could be accomplished by the workers. Since then, O Bee has hired seven part-time employees with developmental disabilities.
The “branch caretakers” only work for one hour per day and their jobs can include tasks like watering plants, cleaning windows and making coffee. These are simple jobs but make a huge difference for the individuals and the rest of the employees at O Bee. Not only do the branch caretakers provide a great service to the branches, they bring a lot of positive energy to everything they do.
Morningside provides a job coach that shadows the branch caretakers. O Bee also has a supervisor at each branch that the branch caretaker reports to. At the end of their shift, the branch caretaker reports to the supervisor to see how they did. If they performed their job they would get a stamp on a card. Once the card is filled up, they receive an award for their efforts. This incentive program is extremely powerful with the branch caretakers and helps to keep them on task and focused.
The credit union was surprised to find the myriad of jobs that the branch caretakers could perform. It has been a great learning experience for the O Bee staff. They have learned how to interact and communicate with someone with disabilities. O Bee believes most companies could very easily incorporate a person with disabilities into their workplaces and benefit from the passion these individuals bring to the job.