man with the words Trivia Night in a box

Ready for Trivia?

Flyer

The date for the 2023 Trivia Night is Saturday, November 11th!

This event will take place at the Martin Luther King Center at 630 9th St in Rock Island, IL. Registration begins at 5:30 pm and the game begins at 6:30 pm. Bring your own snacks to the event, and get your ugly sweater ready for a fun and exciting night!

Register NOW at the following link: https://arcqca.org/events/trivia-night/

OR

Reserve a Table by contacting us at: wrights@arcqca.org | 309-786-6474

standing next to kitchen sink and running water

Meet Dustin, Dishwasher at Earl Hanson Elementary School!

standing next to kitchen sink

Dustin finds value in what he does and hopes to keep working at the Earl Hanson for a long time!

Employment is an important part of community inclusion for people with disabilities. Meaningful work fosters personal growth, equal opportunity, self-sufficiency, and independence. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, The Arc is celebrating the many contributions and achievements of employees with disabilities in the local workforce and raising awareness of employment-related advantages unique to hiring people with disabilities.

Meet Dustin, he washes dishes for students at Earl Hanson Elementary School, part of the Rock Island/Milan School District. Children’s voices echo in the kitchen, the excited shrieks and whoops of a Physical Education class are underway in an adjacent classroom. But that doesn’t distract Dustin from getting his workstation ready for the day with the correct levels of hot water of the three-sink method he uses to clean, rinse, and sanitize the dishes and pans used to feed students at the school. Dustin workplace isn’t where he starts the day, but it plays an important role in his daily routine and is a source of pride and financial advancement.

Dustin starts his day at The Arc building and then walks over to Earl Hanson located immediately adjacent to his job as a dishwasher. When he arrives, he dons the white apron and hairnet that all of his colleagues wear in the bustling kitchen. Then he starts on the dishes from breakfast before lunch pots and pans start to come in. When he’s done cleaning and sanitizing, he has lunch at the school and then walks back to The Arc building. Dustin feels valued and welcomed there, and his paycheck allows him to pursue his interests, something he’s very proud of.

Although Dustin has worked for the school district for only eighteen months, he hopes to stay there indefinitely. Says Dustin, “I really like it there. I hope I get to stay there a long time.” This is music to the ears of kitchen supervisors who struggle to fill vacancies in a role that may be seen as entry-level, yet plays a crucial role in ensuring that commercial kitchens can operate smoothly and efficiently. Says Dustin’s supervisor Sharon, “He’s really good. We put him to good use.” At Earl Hanson, everyone is part of a team of people who make sure students get the proper nutrition they need to learn and grow.

Many employers are discovering that hiring people with disabilities can help to diversify their workforce with loyal and committed employees often have the knock-on effects of improved employee morale and innovation in the workplace. Says Dustin of his job, “I hope this is my forever job.” Dustin’s enthusiasm demonstrates the advantages of hiring people with disabilities. His flexible work arrangement is a small accommodation that has provided benefits to Dustin and the school district with just-in-time labor. Small accommodations can eliminate some of the barriers people with disabilities experience that have kept them out of the workforce. Many of those stigmas have been internalized by people with disabilities who may not see themselves as a valued part of the job pool. Dustin has advice for anyone who might be experiencing this:

“Put some effort into it. Be focused. It took a while to land my job. Keep working hard. You can do it.”

During the month of October, we will be showcasing inclusive workplace practices that benefit disabled workers and employers. More and more employers are trying out-of-the-box thinking to address a tight labor market. Opportunities favor creative approaches, find out how The Arc’s Community Employment Services program can benefit your team at www.arcqca.org.

Guy typing on Keyboards

Meet Tyler, a Loan Quality Specialist for QCR Holdings Inc. #NDEAM2023

Analyst

Tyler chose not to be pictured. He creates value by utilizing his knowledge to provide excellent attention to detail skills, and screen for potential loan issues.

Employment is an important part of community inclusion for people with disabilities. Meaningful work fosters personal growth, equal opportunity, self-sufficiency, and independence. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, The Arc is celebrating the many contributions and achievements of employees with disabilities in the local workforce and raising awareness of employment-related advantages unique to hiring people with disabilities.

Meet Tyler, a Loan Quality Specialist for QCR Holdings Inc. in Davenport. As an individual who identifies himself as a person with Asperger’s syndrome, he excels as a Quality Specialist where he gives meticulous attention to detail crucial to identifying and addressing even minor issues. Tyler double-checks that the information in their system is also correct on paper. His focus and dedication have contributed to high-quality outcomes. Say’s Jenny Miller, Director of Community Employment Services, “Tyler is the perfect candidate for his job.”

Tyler’s strengths in the workforce would not have been allowed to shine if not for the support of The Arc’s Community Employment Services program. Tyler was referred to The Arc through the Autism Society. He had found some quality matches in the job market, he just needed to refine how he packaged his educational and professional experience. Tyler graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Museum Studies and Biology from St. Ambrose University. He was working as a Contractor for the US Army Joint Munitions Command on the Rock Island Arsenal when his contract ended and he was looking for work.

Tyler was given some tools to track his interviews and most importantly the practice to help refine his delivery. Says Tyler, “That really, really helped. I was at a disadvantage.” People with Asperger’s can generally have good language skills, but they might still have difficulty picking up social cues or understanding context which can hinder their understanding of humor, sarcasm, or non–literal language which can come up in an interview. They also discussed whether or not to disclose his disability during the interview process. In Tyler’s case, he decided to disclose. Fortunately, the interviewer worked with other people like Tyler and was familiar with Asperger’s which helped open the flow of communication and created an atmosphere of mutual understanding where Tyler felt comfortable to discuss his strengths. After another interview and an aptitude test, Tyler was hired in his role at QCR Holdings.

Tyler has advice for anyone with a disability who might be looking for work. “It’s hard for everyone not just for people with Asperger’s. You are not the only ones.” Having a resource like The Arc made a difference for Tyler. “I do not view my Asperger’s as an excuse – I view it as an opportunity to get better every day.”

Employers like QCR Holdings are benefitting from the attributes that people with disabilities bring to the workforce. In Tyler’s case no special accommodations needed to be made to unlock his potential. Simply knowing where Tyler was coming from, made a big difference in establishing open lines of communication and clear expectations. As more people like Tyler are able to get the support they need to enter the workforce, employers are perfecting their practices to allow for a more neurologically diverse workforce and are rewarded with an extended talent pool.

The Arc would not have been able to help people like Tyler if not for the funding of the Genesis Health Foundation Community Assistance Funds for People with Disabilities which provided the gap funding needed to assist individuals who would not otherwise qualify for services. There are many people who are just outside of the service funding parameters that still require assistance to help them shine in the workforce. The Arc is grateful for its visionary leadership in this area.

During the month of October, we will be showcasing inclusive workplace practices that benefit disabled workers and employers. More and more employers are trying out-of-the-box thinking to address a tight labor market. Opportunities favor creative approaches, find out how The Arc’s Community Employment Services program can benefit your team at www.arcqca.org.

NDEAM Rehabact flyer

Celebrating 50 years of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 #RehabAct50

This year marks the 50th anniversary of a significant milestone in the fight for a diverse and equitable workforce. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first federal legislation to address access and equity for people with disabilities. It prohibits discrimination based on disabilities in federal agency programs, programs that receive federal financial assistance, federal employment, and the employment practices of federal contractors. The Act is divided into several sections, with Section 504 aiming to make educational programs and facilities accessible to all.

Learn More:
https://www.ada.gov/resources/disability-rights-guide/
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/initiatives/rehabilitation_act_50
https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/rehabilitation-act-1973

Individual standing and smiling

Meet Shyanna, server at Washington Jr. H.S. #NDEAM2023

Individual leaning on the wall

Shyanna loves her job and is making great use of her knowledge on food handling!

Employment is an important part of community inclusion for people with disabilities. Meaningful work fosters personal growth, equal opportunity, self-sufficiency, and independence. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, The Arc is celebrating the many contributions and achievements of employees with disabilities in the local workforce and raising awareness of employment-related advantages unique to hiring people with disabilities.

Today we meet Shyanna who works at Washington Jr. H.S. as a server and dishwasher. There is so much to do in a busy kitchen that serves hundreds of Junior High school students every school day. From taking food temperatures to keeping up with the many dishes to putting food into and out of the massive ovens, Shyanna has welcomed every opportunity to learn all the elements that make the kitchen function. Her Food Handlers License gives her the knowledge and training to do her work safely. She is very aware of cross-contamination and the risk of foodborne illness as well as making accommodations for students with food allergies. Her license gives her the skills and confidence to maintain a healthy and safe food service environment.

Before Shyanna came to Washington Jr. H.S. Shyanna started her food service career at Denkmann Elementary where she spent six months learning the ropes. She got a call about an opportunity at Washington Jr. H.S. who were looking for someone who was dependable and skilled in many aspects of their big, busy kitchen. Her move happened at a critical time for Washington, because that kitchen was cooking for all the preschool classrooms in the district as well as for the junior high school students before the downtown district office kitchen was complete. “Everyone likes me,” says Shyanne of her colleagues and supervisor. “We all work together and help each other out.” In a busy kitchen, Shyanna’s great attitude and willingness to learn new skills are appreciated and help the kitchen accomplish getting the proper nutrition for growing students every day.

Working as a valued team member is secondary to Shyanna’s favorite of her job, interacting with the students. Says Shyanna, “It feels good to get out and help people.” She knows that this aspect of her job is really important. “Be nice to everyone, you don’t know what they might be going through.” Shyanna feels pride in making a difference every day in the lives of students. Nourishing bodies is what cafeteria workers do best, however, they also provide a friendly face, a listening ear, and a sense of community and belonging in the lives of busy students. Although not a formal part of her job description, Shyanna knows she’s making a positive impact on students’ well-being well beyond providing meals.

Shyanna has advice for any person with a disability who might be looking for work. “Give it a try, you will like it.” More and more employers are coming to appreciate the talent pool individuals with disabilities offer and are realizing the benefits will a loyal, committed employees. The Rock Island School District has shown its commitment to creating an inclusive and accessible workforce by hiring and supporting people like Shyanna.

During the month of October, we are showcasing inclusive workplace practices that benefit disabled workers and employers. More and more employers are trying out-of-the-box thinking to address a tight labor market. Opportunities favor creative approaches, find out how The Arc’s Community Employment Services program can benefit your team at www.arcqca.org.

Meet Andy, Vending Clerck at The Arc of the Quad Cities Iowa #NDEAM

Individual standing next to vending machine.

Andy enjoys his job and encourages others to keep looking for something to do!

Employment is an important part of community inclusion for people with disabilities. Meaningful work fosters personal growth, equal opportunity, self-sufficiency, and independence. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, The Arc is celebrating the many contributions and achievements of employees with disabilities in the local workforce and raising awareness of employment-related advantages unique to hiring people with disabilities.

Meet Andy, he has spent the last two months learning the ropes as a Vending Clerk for The Arc of the Quad Cities Iowa. He spends one day a week, filling the vending machines in the Illinois Goodwill’s in Moline and Rock Island, and the other day filling the machines in the Iowa Goodwill’s in Davenport and Bettendorf. There was a lot to learn as this was a new position, but thanks to his job coach from The Arc of the Quad Cities Area’s Community Employment Services program he was able to navigate any challenges. He is also supported by his support staff from IAG (Individual Advocacy Group) who drives him to each location and assists in loading and unloading the beverages and treats he uses to fill vending machines in each store.

Andy has noticed that each store has their snack preferences, “The demographics of each store is different so the best-selling snacks vary.” Although his favorite snacks are M&M’s and Fruit Gushers, he’s noticed that chips and soda are a favorite across the board, with the least-selling item being bottled water. “No one wants water,” he says.

Andy’s new job would not have been possible if not for the support of the Scott County Regional Authority (SCRA) which provided funding for two vending machines that served as a basis for the social enterprise that supports Andy’s new position. The Arc of the Quad Cities Iowa which was established in 1962 to enhance the lives of people with disabilities has been a volunteer organization until just recently. It took 61 years and a generous donation from the SCRA, to make Andy the first employee. It is significant that in an organization dedicated to people with disabilities, the first employee is someone with disabilities. The Arc is proud of Andy and this new venture.

Andy has advice for anyone with a disability who is thinking about community employment, “I encourage people to get a job.” “Don’t give up, and don’t sit around.” Clearly, Andy has taken this advice and is benefitting from his decision.

During the month of October, we will be showcasing inclusive workplace practices that benefit disabled workers and employers. More and more employers are trying out-of-the-box thinking to address a tight labor market. Opportunities favor creative approaches, find out how The Arc’s Community Employment Services program can benefit your team at www.arcqca.org.

man with the words Trivia Night in a box

Trivia Night Now Open for Reservations

The date for the 2023 Trivia Night is Saturday, November 11th!

This event will take place at the Martin Luther King Center in Rock Island, IL. Registration begins at 5:30 pm and the game begins at 6:30 pm.

Bring your own snacks to the event.

Get registered here: https://arcqca.org/events/trivia-night/

 

Fall Festival Coming Up

Fall Festival brings people together for some seasonal fun including food and games. This event is FREE for people with disabilities and their families. Fall Festival is supported by the Wilber L. Burress Endowment.

Tuesday, October 24
5:00 – 7:30 p.m. 
The Rust Belt, East Moline, IL

Thank you for your interest Fall Festival. Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate to a local food pantry. RSVPs are not required by encouraged. Call 309-786-6474 or email gadients@arcqca.

Community Day Program Receives Award!

 

Did you know that The Arc’s Community Day Program volunteers log countless hours annually? They do! It’s our way of giving back and stretching the boundaries of what people with disabilities are capable of. Thank you Quad City Botanical Center for recognizing the efforts of people with disabilities with the Volunteer Group of the Year Award!

2022 In-Kind Donors

Valerie Adamson

Advanced Business Systems

Antonella’s Pizzeria II

Angela Arensdorf

Maria Avila

Wayne Beck

Kimberly Brokaw

Bruce Campbell

Jeff Combs

Joan & Stephen Conrad

Thomas & Kathleen Conrad

Jack Cozad

Dispatch Argus Santa Fund

Lori & Tony Dixon

Sue Gadient

Bernice & Abraham Gunaseelan

John Gustafson

Happy Joe’s

Thomas Hayden

John Deere Construction & Forestry Outreach and Volunteerism

Gilbert Jones

Mike Kaiser

Doug & Mary Elizabeth Klaman

Nicole Koellner

Linda Koester

Bill Kreps

KWQC-TV

Lopiez Pizza

Scott Maess

Jenny Miller

Mike & Michele Montford

Beulah Morrow

Mulkey’s

Oakwood Country Club

Pagalo’s Gourmet Pizza

Darrell Perry

Pizza & Subs

Quad Cities River Bandits

Quad City Pizza Co.

Quad City Times

Kimberly Reynolds

St. Ambrose University Alumni Office

Lisa Stearns

Stoney Creek Inn

Karl Swanson

Target

Margaret & Roald Tweet

Two Rivers Massage

Sarah & Dean Wright

Brittany Wunderlich

Zimmerman Honda