Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Awareness Month
November is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month. It is a time to raise awareness of the more than 12.5 million people in America living with COPD. Callie Eastman of Sioux Falls is successfully employed as a cashier at Walmart and has COPD. She was diagnosed 20 years ago.
Callie says Walmart has been a great employer. Her manager who interviewed her offered job accommodations to help her be successful. She is allowed to take her wheelchair behind the counter with her portable oxygen tank. A stool she can sit on while cashiering is also provided.
Callie said the Employment Skills Training she received at the South Dakota Rehabilitation Center for the Blind was very helpful. Callie states, “It is difficult getting people to understand you are capable of working. They need to take the time to get to know you.” She is thankful her COPD has improved the last two years. Callie is doing exercises and has lost 30 pounds.
She encourages other job seekers with disabilities to persevere. Callie says, “The door will open eventually. Keep knocking. Someone will hire you but you need to be honest about your limitations.”
If you want to learn more about job accommodations for specific disabilities such as COPD, contact Employment Disability Resources at 605-215-1760. The Job Accommodation Network (www.askjan.org) is another excellent resource.
Let's Talk Work
The Let’s Talk Work event provided through the South Dakota Transition Liaison Project was held November 7 at the Sanford Center. This is an annual event designed to help students and young adults with disabilities (ages 14-21) learn more about careers and the skills it takes to get and keep a job. Students started the day rotating through informational mini sessions. The topics included: Job Applications, Employment Supports, Job Interviews/Best Practices, Reasonable vs. Unreasonable Accommodations, and Career Exploration.
A total of 158 people attended the event, including over 100 students. In addition, 24 teachers, 3 parents, 8 employers, and 12 committee members and volunteers also participated.
The following businesses participated in the Career Fair and their representatives are pictured below.
- Apple Tree Children’s Center
- City of Sioux Falls Fleet Department
- Five Star Call Centers
- Holiday Inn City Centre
- Landscape Garden Center
During the Career Fair, half of the students participated in a presentation by Allison Green, Department of Labor and Regulation, called, “Not Safe for Work”.
Thank you to Sanford for the use of your beautiful facility and Chesterman Coca Cola for donating pop. We look forward to working with the South Dakota Transition Services Liaison Project on next year’s event!
Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack Received the 2023 Governor's Award for Outstanding Small Private Employer
Governor Kristi Noem presented Governor’s Awards last month on October 30. The event was held at the Capitol Rotunda in Pierre, South Dakota. The Secretary of the Department of Human Services, Shawnie Rectenbaugh, hosted the event and welcomed attendees. The ceremony recognizes outstanding businesses that support individuals with disabilities, as well as others who have contributed to the employment of people with disabilities throughout the year. This year, Employment Disability Resources nominated Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack for the Outstanding Small Private Employer award, which is given to a small private employer (non-government) for outstanding achievement in employing people with disabilities.
Those honored at the event include:
- Patty Kuglitsch, Sioux Falls ~ Outstanding Individual with a Disability:
- Carissa Brandt, Pierre ~ Outstanding Employee with a Disability
- Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack, Sioux Falls ~ Outstanding Small Private Employer
- AMCON Distributing Company, Rapid City ~ Outstanding Large Private Employer
- City of Rapid City, Rapid City ~ Outstanding Public Employer
- Ashley Halvorson, Beresford ~ Outstanding Transition Services Award
- Sandy Hook, Pierre ~ Distinguished Service Award
The Governor’s Awards ceremony is co-sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Rehabilitation Services, the South Dakota Board of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Statewide Independent Living Council. Congratulations to all of the honorees!