An ADRS business partner has been invited to be part of an audience discussion at the White House regarding unique and innovative strategies on hiring persons with disabilities during a “Champions of Change” event Oct. 14.
Doug Parks, director of the Office Depot distribution center in McCalla, is one of a few employers nationwide selected to take part in the discussion to highlight National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The event is part of President Barack Obama’s ongoing Champions of Change series, which features otherwise ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things to build a better tomorrow.
As one of ADRS’s strongest business partners, Office Depot (formerly OfficeMax) has hired more than 80 persons with disabilities over the past two years and developed a unique pre-hire training program to hire persons with significant disabilities, said Peggy Anderson, coordinator for the department’s business relations program.
ADRS Business Relations Consultant Leslie Dawson nominated Parks as a “Champion of Change” for his meaningful contributions in the Office Depot partnership with ADRS, specifically developing and implementing an on-site simulation and training center for workers with significant disabilities.
Formally opened in July 2013 with a ribbon-cutting by Gov. Robert Bentley, the center is structured to allow each trainee to learn work skills for five different positions within the distribution center at his or her own pace.
With Parks’s guidance, the on-site training facility has provided targeted work training to more than 30 individuals with various significant disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, deafness, cognitive disorders, and significant physical disabilities since opening last year.
“The truly remarkable thing Office Depot did was maximize every resource VR had to fully realize the maximum potential of all persons with disabilities. Doug’s passion to make this possible filtered throughout the workplace, and management stayed the course to make it successful,” said Anderson.