October marked National Disability Employment Awareness Month. That’s why the State Human Services’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation awarded two businesses in our state with awards.
The Bismarck Larks were awarded the “You Make a Difference Award,” which celebrates a business that hired students and others with disabilities who may have little to no work experience.
Larks General Manager John Bollinger says it was an honor to receive the award. He hopes it will get other businesses to start looking at hiring people with disabilities.
“At the end of the day a business is supposed to live out its mission,” Bollinger says. “Our mission is, ‘How do we use fun to make a difference?’ So that is being inclusive and bringing people on of all backgrounds and personalities again with disabilities or with not.”
“It’s important because it’s the right thing to do,” he says.
Bollinger says it gives the workplace a fresh perspective and brings in a lot of new ideas. He mentioned one of his employees, Liz. While she may have more challenges than some, he says she is one of his hardest working and best employees he hired, disability or not.
“Every time I saw her she had a smile on her face and two every time I saw her she always gave me some type of feedback of something we needed to do or fix or do better,” says Bollinger. “I could tell it meant just as much to her as it did to us for having her on staff.”
This Bismarck Larks had about 5 employees with disabilities work with them this past summer. KX also reached out to Liz, who says she had a blast working for the Larks and can’t wait to return next season.