Richland New Hope recognizes area employers’ hiring of developmentally disabled employees

 Three of the employees of the year from left: Sean Stichler, Sean Conrad and Frank Soria.

Three of the employees of the year from left: Sean Stichler, Sean Conrad and Frank Soria.

Richland Newhope Industries, Inc. (RNI) is saluting 147 area employers during Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Businesses that employ individuals with developmental disabilities from Richland Newhope’s adult services program and those companies that contract with RNI were recognized during the annual Employer Recognition Breakfast held Thurs., Oct. 29, at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield. The event attracted nearly 300 people.

For the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2015 a total of 362 individuals earned paychecks with wages totaling $536,000. Community Services also provided employment services to more than 260 individuals who are interested in obtaining employment in the community.

These services include job placement, Project SEARCH, job tryouts and assessments, driver’s permit training, employability classes, and the Summer Training Employment Program (STEP). STEP is a five-week paid summer work program for youth who are transitioning into the world of employment. Twenty-four students and four employers participated in the program this past summer.

In December 2015, Element of Art Studio/Gallery in downtown Mansfield will be celebrating its sixth anniversary. It currently has more than 80 contracted artists who create, display, and sell their unique beautiful art pieces at the gallery.

A partnership between the City of Mansfield and Richland Newhope Industries, the City Garden Café provides training opportunities in food service for its employees.

Winchester Terrace a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center has been named as the 2015 Community Employer of the Year. Winchester currently employs four individuals who are supported by Richland Newhope.

In addition, Winchester Terrace is currently a community job readiness training site where individuals supported by Richland Newhope work throughout the week with a trainer, learning valuable skills that can be used in a job in the community. Winchester Terrace has also been supportive of potential employees by opening its doors for job tryouts and assessments.

Warren Rupp, Inc. is the 2015 “Industrial Employer of the Year.” A valued customer since 2011, Warren Rupp, Inc. has contracted with RNI to regularly ship 33 styles of crating components and four varied lengths of heat-treated lumber used in the final packaging and shipping of their various products. This relationship has enabled RNI to continue to expand its employment for individuals with developmental disabilities.

The community-based Employee of the Year is Sean Conrad of Mansfield. Conrad is currently employed as the shift leader at the City Garden Café. Conrad is considered an excellent employee who sets a good example for his co-workers; he is always ready to do whatever is needed and likes the food service industry. When Conrad is not working at the café, he enjoys playing video games, reading non-fiction and mystery books, and taking walks when the weather is nice.

Richland Newhope Industries’ facility-based 2015 Employees of the Year are Frank Soria and Sean Stichler, both of Mansfield. Soria works at RNI’s 4th Street location, completing subcontract work for businesses like MTD, Richland Screw, and Hyundai Ideal Electric. He also works at the Therm-O-Disc enclave location where he scraps and sorts thermostat parts. Soria is described as a very hard worker who is dedicated to completing his work on time and accurately. In addition to working at RNI and the Therm-O-Disc enclave, he is also a contracted artist at Element of Art Studio/Gallery in downtown Mansfield. During his free time, Soria enjoys bowling, spending time with his family, and his dogs.

Stichler works at RNI’s facility at 971 W. Longview Ave. Stichler came to Richland Newhope after completing Project Search. He was selected as an Employee of the Year because of his great work ethic, his leadership skills, and for being willing to try anything. Stichler is very family-oriented and enjoys spending time with his grandparents, using his computer, and driving the family golf cart.

This year’s featured speaker at the Employer Recognition Breakfast was Craig Weber. The Ashland County native was the 11th ranked fighter in the world in the super lightweight and welterweight divisions, finishing with a record of 21-2-2. Weber has been a baseball coach for children with special needs for the past several years.

The theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month is “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.” In addition to the breakfast, RNI, Inc. also displayed five billboards throughout the Mansfield area during October.

Three of the employees of the year from left: Sean Stichler, Sean Conrad and Frank Soria. Three of the employees of the year from left: Sean Stichler, Sean Conrad and Frank Soria.