Look at him now, Kyle becomes part of team at Blvd Bar & Grille in West St. Paul

“When he was born, I was told that he wouldn’t go to school, he wouldn’t work, he wouldn’t live on his own. I was always told ‘he wouldn’t’. But look at him now. He finished high school at Simley (in nearby Inver Grove Heights) and now he is working at his own job. I am so proud of him.

Read Kyle’s story

She’s one of us now: Karen & Kent form tight bond at Frankie’s Chicago Style Pizza in New Hope

Karen Thorud is a singer. She is an actress. When she is not involved in the performing arts, you can often find her at Frankie’s Chicago Style Pizza in New Hope, where she was recently offered part-time work. Karen also happens to live with a disability and mental illness. “There’s not enough opportunities for people with disabilities to work, ” Karen said in an interview. “So many people say, ‘Yeah you have a disability, forget it.’ So I went out and found this job at Frankie’s on my own. Frankie’s was different.”

Read Karen’s story

Wade Succeeds as a Small Business Owner

Wade owns his own business, Spencer’s Contracting & Maintenance, where he installs vinyl siding and drywall, fixes and installs gutters, does roofing and boards up foreclosures. “I like working for myself,” Wade said during a recent interview. “ I can do what I want. I don’t have to be watched 24 hours a day. I like being the boss.

Read Wade’s story

Spectrum of Rochester gave Tracy the only chance she needed

“For those who haven’t hired people with disabilities, I would ask them to change their perspective,” said Otten. “From what I’ve seen, the employees with disabilities we’ve hired at Spectrum have rock star attendance and truly value their jobs. That positive attitude cannot always be taught and it’s extremely important to any business.

Read Tracy’s story

The Proof is in the Pizza, Parkway’s Inclusive Hiring Practices Have Helped Business’ Bottom Line

For nearly a decade now, Parkway Pizza has worked with Community Involvement Programs to hire a number of adults with disabilities for their three locations in the Twin Cities metro area. “We live in a very diverse city and we have a diverse crew,” Parkway General Manager Ben Crow said, “Our business model is to be community-based. To be community based you have to have people from the community. People with disabilities are part of our community.”

Read Parkway’s story