Diane Adkins

McDonald's is one of nearly 50 local employers who partner with New Hope Industries in offering employment for persons with disabilities. Diane Adkins has worked at McDonald's for 25 years.

MOUNT VERNON - Over the past few years, the Knox County Board of Developmental Disabilities has had a major push to increase opportunities for people with disabilities to be connected to the community in natural ways and to gain meaningful employment.

Just a few years ago, Knox DD only had around 30 people with disaiblities employed in the community. On Nov. 17, 2020, Knox DD celebrated an amazing milestone: 100 people with developmental disabilities employed in community job placements.

That is 100 smiles, 100 families that are positively impacted, 100 more people giving back to their communities, and 100 opportunities to make the community more inclusive for everyone.

“This milestone has been achieved because of the dedication and hard work from our employment manager, Bobbi Kirch, and the team of very hard-working and dedicated employment providers (New Hope Industries, Creative Learning Workshop, Licking/Knox Goodwill Industries, & Center for Disability Services) and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) that we have been fortunate to work with,” Steve Oster, Knox DD superintendent said.

Forty-nine different employers in Knox County have provided wonderful opportunities to help people learn, work and grow as people.

Kirch has also enhanced the Summer Youth Work Program that has allowed teenagers with disabilities the opportunity to learn on the job skills during the summers. This program has three different components: Career Exploration, Work Experience and Job Development. These programs allow youth to learn what businesses and employees do and do hands-on work at local businesses to learn valuable work skills. It also assists them to gain summer employment that many keep throughout their high school years.

“The Knox County Board of DD is excited that 100 individuals who have disabilities are employed in the local community," Kirch said. "Individuals have told me they now have money to take vacations, have money to buy things they want not just things they need, have money to live on their own and have money to go out and have fun.

"Almost everyone tells me they enjoy making new friends and doing a great job," she continued. "They get excited to tell me that their supervisor told them what a great job they are doing. I want to thank Knox New Hope Industries, Licking/Knox Goodwill Industries, Creative Learning Workshop, Center for Disability Services and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities for the amazing work they do in assisting individuals in obtaining and maintaining employment. Thanks to all of the wonderful employers in Knox County who help make dreams come true.

"Thank you Knox County for being a wonderful place for everyone to live, work and grow."

Knox County community employers include:

  • Amato's
  • Area Wide Protection
  • ASAP Landscaping
  • Big Lots
  • Bleckmann
  • City of Mount Vernon, Parks
  • Department
  • Dairy Queen
  • Der Dutchman
  • Fit Mix
  • Flappers Bar and Grill
  • Fredericktown Library
  • FT Precision
  • Goodwill
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Infocision
  • Jeld-Wen
  • Knox County Board of DD
  • Knox Community Hospital
  • Kenyon Inn
  • Kenyon/AVI
  • Knox County Highway Garage
  • Kroger
  • Lannings
  • Mazza's
  • McDonald's
  • Mount Vernon Library
  • MVNU/Pioneer College Caterers
  • New Life Church
  • Ohio Department of Defense
  • Panera
  • Peppy's Pizza
  • Premiere Theater
  • Progress Industries
  • Rural King
  • Sanoh
  • Simon Says Stamp
  • SOAR
  • Southside Diner
  • St. Vincent's
  • Subway
  • Taco Bell
  • The Laurels
  • Tractor Supply Company
  • Ver-Mac
  • Wal-Mart
  • Wendy's
  • Wishmaker House Bread and
  • Breakfast
  • YMCA

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