The URS trains people with disabilities for working life

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – For 66 years, United Rehabilitation Services (URS) has served the disability community. It has also spent many years training its participants for the workforce, and in recent years these workers have been essential.

Many URS partners say these workers are critical to their operations and transforming their culture.

Doing the dishes is a chore that most of us dread. It’s work, however, that Kyle Strines embraces.

Kyle plays an important role at Springfield Regional Medical Center. And the medical center plays an important role for Kyle.

“The program helped me be a better example to others and learn how to be a good influence on other teammates,” Kyle Strines said.

Those who work with Kyle describe how important he is, calling him a contagious influence that impacts the entire workplace culture. Kyle is just one example of what happens at the URS.

This organization provides skills and opportunities to the disability community and at the same time fills a vital need for manpower.

“The staffing crisis is at an all-time high,” said Jeremy Nelson, head of the employment service at URS. “We think it’s really cool that these employers are interested in hiring people with disabilities and doing something different than what they normally might have done.”

Kyle and his brother Kalib’s journey to the URS began when they were 15 years old. They started by participating in the Summer Youth Career Exploration program for a few summers. Then they went on to the Summer Youth Work Experience program before graduating from Employment Development Services and landing their own jobs – earning their own money in the process. The URS academy trains willing, productive and vital members of the workforce.

“It has a wonderful component of building soft skills, following instructions and getting along with your supervisor and co-workers and really understanding what it is about being a good worker,” explained Dennis Grant, CEO of URS.

URS’ professional training programs provide its participants with the opportunity to gain work experience, be part of a team, and develop a personal sense of worth.

The Discovery Museum Boonshoft is one of the many partners of the URS. In this partnership, members gain experience doing everything from painting fences outdoors to cleaning and disinfecting indoors. Their skills increase and the Boonshoft ensures that these workers who are enthusiastic about finding a job are ready.

“We do a mock interview with the participants, so that they have the experience of a job interview in the real world,” explained Ronald Puterbaugh, director of facilities at the Boonshoft Museum.

Morgan Whiting, employment specialist at URS, said: “The big thing I hope every individual takes away is that they can be independent and have the confidence to do so. “

Looking for a way to get involved? Join us for our annual URS telethon on Sunday, December 4 on 2 NEWS. From noon to 2 p.m. that Sunday, you can meet amazing people as you overcome great odds.

Michael A. Bynum