Roads Services Division receives Public Employer of the Year Award
On Oct. 27, the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment (GCDE) held their 28th annual Governor’s Awards, which recognizes outstanding employers in the public and private sector who recruit, retain and advance individuals with disabilities and demonstrate best practices in the workplace. The Public Employer of the Year Award went to King County Roads Services Division for their dedication and support of Matt Everson, an employee in King County’s Supported Employment Program.
This is the first time King County has received the Public Employer of the Year Award and the second time it has been nominated. Jeremy Ferguson, Traffic and Roads Maintenance Section Manager stated, “What a surprise! I was just put on the spot to receive the Public Employer of the Year Award from the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment in a statewide Zoom call. This is an incredible honor, and we couldn’t have done it without the innovation and leadership of staff, especially Kathi Murata and Julie Griffin.”
“Matt is truly a great asset to our team,” Jeremy continues. “He brings joy on gloomy days, even from home as we work through this pandemic. Christina Davidson has helped guide us along the way, and job coaches at Trillium Employment Services have been great to work with.”
As COVID-19 hit and Executive Constantine implemented mandatory telecommuting (now extended until July 5, 2021), this dramatically impacted supported employees within King County, many who provide in office support. During this time, the Roads Division advocated for Matt to resume his work remotely, identifying new tasks and creative ways to have the work delivered to him. Matt was assisted in setting up a laptop and monitor to work from home. His work is now sent via company courier with assigned pick-up and delivery times. Matt’s managers, co-workers, previous co-workers, and job coach have kept in touch to support Matt over Skype, email, FaceTime, text and phone calls. Staying connected is crucial aspect to Matt’s success and adjusting to the “new normal.”
During the Governor’s Awards virtual celebration, Governor Inslee shared how “As COVID-19 began hitting businesses, many employees with disabilities were laid off or furloughed. Today, we recognize employers who have found new ways to continue operations with their staff. There is a real opportunity here to take the lead in rolling out workplace plans, mediating risk of the virus, and making their workplace inclusive to those with a disability.”
It is exciting that King County can receive the Public Employer of the Year Award, a testament to employees who care about one another’s success, such as the King County Road Services Division. Christina Davidson, Supported Employment Program Manager, highlights how this makes a real impact on supported employees.
“It is powerful to be recognized for King County’s work to hire and retain employees with developmental disabilities through the Supported Employment Program, especially during the challenging times of COVID-19,” she said. ”The Roads team has been very supportive to Matt since he started and that has continued through the telecommute mandate.
“King County is proud to offer career and life changing opportunities to employees,” Christina shared.