America's Workforce: Empowering All.
That’s the theme for the 2018 observation of National Disability Employment Awareness Month this October.
And it’s a mission that’s near and dear to the hearts of Linda Plager, area director, and the members of the employment team at Region V Services of Nebraska City.
“We are an organization that supports people with developmental disabilities,” said Plager.
Employment services are just one of the ways that Region V supports the disabled.
Region V provides daily care, residential and transportation services.
Vocational skill development is also featured at the Nebraska City site.
But the employment piece of the puzzle is definitely significant.
Region V and its employment team of Robin Smallfoot, Cheryl Hobbie and Mandy Roberts, go out into the community to find employers with needs that can be met by  the clients of Region V.
And there are a lot of employers who have had opportunities for clients and who have benefited greatly from a relationship with Region V over the years.
Local businesses which work with Region V include Lied Lodge and Conference Center, Walmart, Valentino’s restaurant, Morton Place, Orschelin’s and Kimmel Orchard.
The main goal is to give clients the opportunity to work by finding a job that suits their skill set.
Plager noted that Region V doesn’t see disability, but rather different ability. And once the ability is matched to a particular task, the quality of work is beneficial to the employer and the quality of experience is one that’s fulfilling for the client as well.
Once a match is found, Region V continues to work with the employer and with the client to keep up a good relationship.
Region V’s programming allows for the development of soft skills, those skills which surround the work on the job.
Examples of soft skills are building good relationships with coworkers and supervisors, attentiveness and punctuality.
Nile Farris, owner of Valentino’s of Nebraska City, has a long standing relationship with Region V and has definitely seen the benefit of that relationship.
Bob Walters, a client at Region V, has worked  for Farris since 1991.
“He’s much more than an employee. He’s part of the family,” said Farris. “He knows my children, their spouses and my grandchildren. Bob is very loyal and takes pride in doing his job well.”
Other clients of Region V who have worked for Farris include Mark Fox, James Johnson and Bonnie Jahn, all of whom have helped make Farris’ business efforts succeed over the years.
“One thing all of these people had was a great work ethic,” Farris said. “James, Bonnie, Mark and Bob all gave 100 percent every day.”
Tyler Vock, business and marketing team leader for Kimmel Orchard, agreed with Farris.

“We have had employees from Region V helping us during the fall for the last several years now,” said Vock. “They are tremendously great workers. We have had a core group that returns every year and we are extremely happy to have them. One of the things that impresses us every year is their work ethic.”
Providing employment opportunities and empowerment for workers with different abilities has benefits for society and for the individual workers.
Plager said society benefits from the productivity of citizens who invest time in their communities and pay taxes on their earnings.
The worker benefits from having the sense of belonging and accomplishment the people get from their job.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Reflecting a commitment to a robust and competitive American labor force, the 2018 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.” Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.
For more information, visit dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam.

Job Openings
Nebraska City area businesses with potential job openings for Region V clients should call Linda Plager, area director, at 402-873-3306. Region V is located at 808 8th Corso in Nebraska City.