Culinary Services employees pose with their awards at the PersonnelPlus ceremony
Photo courtesy of: PersonnelPlus
Oct 23, 2012
By Tessa Dufresne
Americans afflicted with disabilities continue to face widespread employment discrimination, despite the long-standing Americans with Disabilities Act, a 1990 civil rights law prohibiting discrimination based on disability.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012, 32 percent of working-age disabled individuals were employed, and only about 27.6 percent were actually putting in hours.
PersonnelPlus is a professional agency in Athens that works against the prevailing inequity, as it specializes in employment services that match the skills of workers with disabilities to the needs of their client-businesses. It is a program of the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities and an ATCO affiliate. The agency ensures employment for qualified individuals with more than 30 area businesses, including Ohio University Culinary Services.
Ohio University Culinary Services has been in partnership with PersonnelPlus for 12 years, after Jim Yute, general manager of Shively Court, was approached by the agency. He agreed to a trial period with three PersonnelPlus employees at Shively Court. The relationship worked well, and blossomed in response. Culinary Services now boasts 14 PersonnelPlus employees, who work at the four campus dining halls and the Central Food Facility.
"Our PersonnelPlus employees are very dedicated and hardworking," said Gwyn Scott, associate vice president for the auxiliaries. "Culinary Services, for them, is more than just a job – it is a large portion of their life, and they look forward to bringing what they can to the table everyday."
The Culinary Services and PersonnelPlus collaboration was celebrated Thursday, Oct. 18, at the agency's biennial Employer/Employee Recognition Banquet, where PersonnelPlus recognized the area employers they partner with as well as the individuals with disabilities who make a difference.
Culinary Services was presented with the Ambassador Award, an honor named after Downard's Ambassador Laundry & Dry Cleaning, the first business to receive an award for their commitment to PersonnelPlus. The award is bestowed upon partnering groups who have been involved with the association for at least five years and recommended by their employees.
"While Culinary Services is honored to receive the award, more than anything, we are truly humbled because our success has come from the hard work of PersonnelPlus and our PersonnelPlus employees," said Scott, who accepted the award for the department.
Scott said that PersonnelPlus is dedicated to securing the right employee in the right employment setting, as they strive to achieve a good fit for the employee and the work place. The agency has numerous programs, such as job analysis, candidate screening, job tryout, employer and employee support and job skills classes, all at no cost to employer.
"We have an ongoing relationship with PersonnelPlus," said Scott. Not only does the agency excel at employee selection, she said, they offer "job coaching" – a chance for a PersonnelPlus staff member to work with new employees to better understand their work duties and with the employer to identify how to enhance their processes.
"PersonnelPlus employees are no different than any other employee, as they have a schedule and duties that they are responsible for completing," said Scott. "PersonnelPlus makes sure we complement each other, and if not, a better fit will be arranged."
Scott said that is the beauty of the PersonnelPlus program. It guarantees the diversity and compatibility of the Culinary Services team, giving each member – student workers, staff and PersonnelPlus employees – an opportunity to learn from each other's skills and personalities, ultimately strengthening the educational mission of the University.
"PersonnelPlus offers a huge opportunity for the campus community because it allows an environment for PersonnelPlus employees and Ohio University student workers to work together," said Scott. "It is a great program for the Athens community."
Culinary Services looks forward to their continued commitment to PersonnelPlus and the program's development.
"PersonnelPlus is an excellent program, growing in a very good direction," said Scott.