At MV Advancements we believe in inclusive communities where all people are valued for their contributions. This is a message of hope during uncertain times.

While in the midst of a global pandemic, much attention has shifted to people doing essential work. Our Direct Support Professionals, who include homecare staff and job coaches, are working side by side with people providing direct care in retirement communities, grocery stores, and manufacturing settings. Not long ago the jobs that people with disabilities performed were thought of as “less than,” and generally in the areas of flowers, food, filth, and fur. Today’s world recognizes them as the most essential to keeping our communities safe. For the first time in history, people experiencing disabilities are included in a group that is seen and honored for vital work.

Who are these workers who remain on the front lines ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our communities?

Working at Brookdale retirement home in McMinnville, Rene says “I think it’s great to work with the older people and serve them their food that they need. Being an essential worker is great because you can get out and about and leave the house for a while.”

“It feels good to know I can keep the store stocked during these times,” Karlena said of her job at Turner Road Walmart in Salem.

Daniel, who works in wine production at Wine by Joe, reflected on how “it’s just kinda weird since everyone else isn’t workin’, but me workin’ is fine. I’m glad to be workin’ off and on like I do at the winery.”

Working in Polk County, “As an essential worker it’s my responsibility to keep the fairgrounds safe and sanitized,” says Julian. His supervisor, Tina Anderson agrees; “Julian has been keeping us open for campers and ready in case we need to activate as an emergency center. We couldn’t continue to operate at this capacity without him working so hard every day to keep us going.”

What will the world and its workplaces look like when we arrive on the other side of this change? People with intellectual and developmental disabilities will become increasingly valued for the skills, dedication, and talents they bring to business environments experiencing their own new normal. Businesses that survive the impact of COVID-19 will return to prosperity, benefitting from the employees who continued to give their all, not missing a day of work, coming to work with a positive attitude and completing the essential functions through a time of crisis. This is truly progress as we value all people for their contribution to the greater good of our communities!