Featured Stories« Go Back
All Featured Stories >
New job training program ‘coming together’ at SEAHDCDate: 01/30/2017
By Kev Moyè
WARREN – An expanding opportunity with Kohler Co.’s Sheridan manufacturing facility and clients of the Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center (SEAHDC) involving Velcro is coming together.
Typically, Velcro is thought of as a two-piece material that binds an item of clothing together, maybe even a shoe. But a select group of SEAHDC clients are becoming acquainted with an unusual use as they assemble an access panel for certain Kohler toilets.
“Kohler connects the strip to a panel used in wall-mounted toilets often installed in commercial buildings,” said SEAHDC Assistant Superintendent Linda Scales. “A plastic door behind the wall can be pulled down, and it’s held on by the Velcro strips. That way a plumber can come in, take the door off, work and then later Velcro the door back on. The strips that hold the door on are being produced at our center.”
The Warren center is one of five residential Human Development Centers operated by the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services of the Arkansas Department of Human Services for people with developmental disabilities. The smallest of the five, SEAHDC houses on average 100 people who have an intellectual disability and various levels of physical condition, functioning and age.
The Kohler project began in October with an initial order of 7,000 pieces. A small group of clients are involved now, but Scales hopes to see the program grow.
“This type of work develops self-esteem, hand-eye coordination and mathematical skills, as well as teaching clients how to work beside someone,” Scales said. “The environment will allow clients to expand their personal and professional lives through their work as they develop skills that will open doors for some of them to transition into the community at some point.”
The center provides speech, physical and occupational therapies as well as daily living and social skills trainings for its residents to help them become as independent as possible. Its Supported Employment program provides jobs to one of every four residents, with many in the recycling workshop, and has already produced two full orders for Kohler. Recently, residents began a second Kohler project that involves applying decals to the power button of a nightlight toilet seat.
“The clients are very excited about the work,” Scales said. “We’ve always done shredding and recycling, but this is a whole new adventure. And our clients are doing a great job of completing the purchase orders ahead of schedule.”
Center residents are paid based on the number of Velcro strips they produce, which is one of the ways the participants are taught the importance of initiative.
“It gives them the opportunity to learn a trade while it teaches them the responsibility of getting up each morning, going to work, producing a product, going home each day with that satisfaction and getting paid at the end of the week,” Scales said. “We’re so thankful to Kohler for looking to us and providing this opportunity.”
Residents of the Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center in Warren work on their independent living skills while completing contract work for the Sheridan manufacturing facility of Kohler Company. The program is one of several across the state’s five residential centers for individuals with intellectual disabilities to help clients learn a trade and become more independent.
About Kohler Co.
Founded in 1873 and headquartered in Kohler, Wis., Kohler Co. is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies comprised of more than 30,000 associates. With more than 50 manufacturing locations worldwide, Kohler is a global leader in the manufacture of kitchen and bath products; engines and power systems; premier furniture, cabinetry and tile; and owner/operator of two of the world’s finest five-star hospitality and golf resort destinations in Kohler, and St Andrews, Scotland.
About Arkansas Department of Human Services
The mission of the Arkansas Department of Human Services is to improve the quality of life of all Arkansans by protecting the vulnerable, fostering independence and promoting better health through a wide array of services, public assistance programs and licensing and regulatory functions.