Disability doesn’t stop dancing employee

If you happen to see a man busting a move while cleaning up hedge trimmings or emptying a trash can at Marymoor Park, it’s probably Parks Specialist Dwight Lewis. Dwight has been with parks for 17 years and his enthusiasm for the work is showing no signs of waning. “He actually makes people on our crew want to be better at what they do,” Andy Boland, Parks Maintenance Coordinator, said. “He pushes us, he comes in with a lot of energy, positive attitude, and it’s really what we need; he’s a spark… Read More

Breaking down barriers with Supported Employment: Jodeen Wieser

Jodeen Wieser is a 20-year employee with King County’s Environmental Lab, a Lab Assistant who performs a wide range of essential tasks that help the Lab do its work of collecting, analyzing and monitoring samples that protect our local environment. Jodeen is also a supported employee through a King County program that pairs her with a job coach to help with learning new skills, communication and any other issues that arise. “When you meet someone with a disability that maybe is a different picture of what you thought someone was or what… Read More

Celebrating 10 years of helping youth with disabilities find jobs

With more than 1,100 students served over 10 years, King County’s School-to-Work program has plenty of reasons to celebrate. On October 12, 2015, as part of National Disability Employment Awareness month, the Department of Community and Human Services Developmental Disabilities Division celebrated 10 successful years of the program and 1,136 students served by hosting a gathering of partners and stakeholders at the Southcenter Double Tree. “The School-to-Work Program helps youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout King County seek and gain employment prior to exiting their high school transition programs,” Richard Wilson,… Read More

Breaking down job barriers for people with disabilities

October is Disability Awareness Month and King County is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and 25 years of hiring people with developmental disabilities into the work place. In 1990, the King County Council created the Supported Employment Program in response to the issue of employment inequity for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Supported Employment Program matches job seekers with developmental disabilities to jobs by identifying efficiencies and unmet needs throughout King County government. One of those employees is Brooke, a mail clerk with King… Read More

Untapped Potential: Behavioral Health Employment Program helps individuals with disabilities join the workforce

At a recent employment resource fair, staff from the King County Behavioral Health Supported Employment Program ran into Tiffany Turner, a graduate of the program. Tiffany now works full time as a manager at the Recovery Café, a community of support for individuals who have experienced trauma, mental health and/or substance use issues. As a single parent of three children, Turner had many challenges trying to raise her children with limited resources or support from others. She found herself overwhelmed and unaware of the symptoms of her illness or how to use… Read More

DCHS-funded August Wilson Place opens in Bellevue

August Wilson Place, named for the renowned playwright, officially opened its doors on May 26 at a grand opening celebration on the site in Bellevue. The project has a total of 57 units of housing, including 16 units set aside for individuals and families exiting homelessness. Eight are set aside for veterans and three will house families with a child with a developmental disability, thanks to a capital contribution from DCHS’ Developmental Disabilities Division. Adrienne Quinn, Director of the Department of Community and Human Services, joined members of Wilson’s family at the dedication, along… Read More

Stay-in-School program builds opportunity for local students

When a student is in danger of not graduating from high school in south King County, the Stay-in-School program is there to help.  The federally-funded and County-operated program identifies students who are at risk of dropping out based on their grades and/or not passing the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) in their Junior year. Each year about 120 youth in King County receive assistance through the program, and its results are impressive: in the 2013/14 academic year, 86 percent of participants completed their high school diplomas and 82 percent went on to… Read More

Motorcycle accident can’t stop employee from returning to work

John Sharp worked as a truck driver for King County’s Solid Waste Division since 1990, something that he loved doing. But in 1999, he lost an arm in a motorcycle accident. Even with his disability, John wanted to get back to driving grapples, packers and other heavy machinery. So with the help of King County’s Disability Services Program, he was equipped with specially-designed accommodations that allowed him to operate heavy machinery at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, and get back to work. Watch this short KCTV video on John’s story.  

KCIT employee gets some help from technology and four-legged friend

Next time you contact KCIT for email or SharePoint help, you may be talking to an employee who has a four-legged friend helping him in his work day. Dan Johnson, a Systems Engineer with King County’s Department of Information Technology, has been with the County since 1997, initially in the KCIT Help Desk, and now supporting a range of Exchange email, SharePoint and cloud-based services for employees. “My work focus has expanded far beyond Exchange email to include unified communications, the Office 365 suite, and distributed administration and security,” Dan said. “I used… Read More

Five Questions with Roxanne Vierra, Disability Compliance Specialist, Office of Civil Rights & Open Government

1. What was your first role at King County? I’d previously worked 10 years at the U.W. Disabled Student Services office, then 10 years at the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, where my position included primarily fair housing investigations and a bit of public disability access. When I was offered this job with King County 16 years ago, I was excited because it allowed me to use my Disability Specialist experience in a more active way. While I still handle fair housing enforcement and outreach, my role as Disability Compliance Specialist enables… Read More