#PWDAD2021

People with Disabilities Awareness Day is normally held in-person at the Oklahoma Capitol. This year, due to COVID-19, we had to change how we advocate. We still dressed up in green, but we also reached out to lawmakers via email so they know the impact of funding critical services has on the lives of folks at DRTC and across Oklahoma. Enjoy some of our photos from #PWDAD2021!

  • Carolyn gesturing to an office door that is decorated in green and says "People with Disabilities Awareness Day March 9th."
  • DRTC staffer wearing green taking a selfie.
  • Three DRTC staffers wearing green, holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign and giving the thumbs up.
  • Group of people wearing green, holding "#PWDAD2021" and "#DDAM2021" signs.
  • Woman wearing green, holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign and a dollar bill.
  • Two people wearing green, a woman on the left and a man on the right. The man is holding a "#DDAM2021" sign.
  • A woman wearing an elf shirt, holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A woman, left, and man, right, wearing green, holding "PWDAD2021" and "DDAM2021" signs.
  • A man wearing a green polo, facemask and face shield, holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A woman wearing a green shirt, holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A man wearing a green shirt, holding a "#DDAM2021" sign.
  • A woman holding two "#PWDAD2021" and "#DDAM2021" signs.
  • Awoman wearing a green shirt, holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A woman wearing green, holding a "PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A woman, left, and a man dressed in a Yoshi costume, right, holding "#DDAM2021" and "#PWDAD2021" signs.
  • A woman holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A woman, left, and a man in a Yoshi costume, right, holding "#PWDAD2021" signs.
  • A man in a Yoshi costume, left, an a man wearing a green shirt, right, holding "#PWDAD2021" signs.
  • A man wearing a Batman mask looking up at another man wearing a Yoshi costume next to him, holding "#PWDAD2021" signs.
  • A man wearing a John Deere camo shirt and facemask, holding a "#DDAM2021" sign.
  • A woman wearing a green shirt and facemask, while holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A man wearing a green shirt, and a Special Olympics medal, whole holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A woman, left, and a man in a Yoshi costume, right, holding "#PWDAD2021" signs.
  • A woman wearing a green shirt and green shamrock pants, sitting on a chair, with a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A man, left, giving the hand sign for "peace," and a man, right, in a Yoshi costume holding a "PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A woman sitting at a table with a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A woman wearing green, holding a "DDAM2021" sign.
  • A man wearing green, holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A woman sitting at a table with a "#DDAM2021" sign.
  • A woman sitting in a chair, holding a "#PWDAD2021" sign.
  • A woman wearing green, using an orbital sander on an acrylic award.
  • A woman wearing a green sweater, using an orbital sander on an acrylic award.
  • A man wearing a green shirt, buffing an acrylic award.
  • A DRTC staffer wearing a green shirt, holding a #PWDAD2021 sign.
  • Five people in a group photo, all wearing green, holding "#PWDAD2021" and #DDAM2021" signs.
  • Five women, wearing green, holding "#PWDAD2021" and "DDAM2021" signs.
  • DRTC Executive Director Deborah Copeland wearing a green shirt and a green polka-dot ribbon in front of a colorful painting.
  • Four staff members with DRTC's GSA federal contract taking a group photo.
  • Three staff members of DRTC's GSA federal contract wearing green ribbons or lanyards.
  • A large group of DRTC staffers at the GSA contract wearing green ribbons or lanyards.
  • A large group of DRTC staffers at the GSA contract wearing green ribbons or lanyards.
  • Four people wearing green at a cashier at DRTC's Food Service contract at Tinker Air Force Base.

State funding and work opportunities are important to folks on our main campus and federal contracts locations. It allows them to be independent, make important purchases, and instill confidence in their own abilities. Hear from them in their own words.

Earning a paycheck allows me to:

“…buy pens, purses, and go out to eat.” – Minnie

“save up money to purchase important things.” – Lindsey

“buy things I need – clothes, groceries.” – Timothy

Funding OKDHS/OKDRS is important to me because:

“I am on the In Home Supports Waiver that allows me to have help in my home, the community, and at work.” – Nicole

“I have state-funded services that allow me to attend my work program where I earn a paycheck, learn life skills and attend speech therapy.” – Courtney

“I can work and earn a paycheck and receive speech classes!” – Austin

“I am able to have a job that I love.” – Jason

Being an essential employee is important to me because:

“I help people to not get sick.” – Melissa

“I want to help people.” – Milvian

“I like to help in any way I can.” – Hannah

Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC) is Oklahoma’s leading community vocational training and employment center for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. With multiple locations in Oklahoma, DRTC trains, serves or employs approximately 1,000 people with disabilities per year. Visit us online: DRTC.org.

Essential Gratitude

Essential Worker t-shirt being screen printed at DRTC.

Employees at Dale Rogers Training Center’s (DRTC) federal contracts have some new threads for the new year. DRTC, a private nonprofit agency that employs, trains and serves approximately 1,000 people with disabilities or limiting conditions in Oklahoma, recently distributed gifts bags that included shirts celebrating the essential workers. Those shirts were screen printed at DRTC’s main campus in Oklahoma City.

When the pandemic officially shuttered operations of several industries nationwide beginning in March 2020, one key group remained on the frontlines: essential workers. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has several categories of essential critical infrastructure workers, which includes food service and custodial staff. DRTC employs approximately 300 such staff at its federal contracts at Tinker Air Force Base, the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center at FAA and federal buildings located in downtown Oklahoma City. These staff stepped up their game during the pandemic, cleaning areas more frequently and following site-based guidance regarding dining options, as well as proper safety protocols.

“We can’t thank the crews enough for their dedication during these trying times,” said DRTC Executive Director Deborah Copeland, M.Ed.

DRTC custodial crew

Employees at DRTC’s federal contract locations work in a variety of positions with many opportunities for advancement. These jobs are available through SourceAmerica®, which requires 75% of staff to have a documented disability.

“People with disabilities are an essential workforce in Oklahoma and now, more than ever, we understand how important their contribution is to our critical infrastructure,” said Copeland. 

View job openings and apply online at https://www.drtc.org/now-hiring. Our new Employment Guide featuring jobs at our Federal Contracts locations is online now!

Staff on cover image: Cody, Andrea, Sharon, LaShonda, Dylan, Corey

Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC) is Oklahoma’s leading community vocational training and employment center for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. With multiple locations in Oklahoma, DRTC trains, serves or employs approximately 1,000 people with disabilities per year. Visit us online: DRTC.org.

Fog advisory

Closeup of Mark spraying a door and door handle.
Mark spraying a restroom door and handle

Oklahomans are no stranger to dense fog, but a different kind of fog is also becoming more common at Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC). Trained staff are fogging and misting office spaces in the name of safety during this era of COVID-19.

“The agency is attuned to the safety concerns brought on by COVID-19,” said DRTC Executive Director Deborah Copeland, M.Ed. “We are happy to provide this additional service to keep staff as safe as possible, while still following recommended guidelines.”

While the imagery of a fogger or mister may lead one to conjure visions of dense fog, the result is actually quite the opposite. DRTC utilizes each method to disinfect areas: foggers produce more of a spray bottle effect, while electrostatic sprayers are more targeted when applied and create a fine mist. Another key difference is the sprayers can be used safely on electronics. Basically, the electrostatic sprayers positively charge the disinfectant that seeks out negatively-charged surfaces.

Mark spraying a table at DRTC. The mist is clearly visible.
Mark spraying a work table

Dozens of staff on DRTC’s main campus and federal contracts are trained in the use of these disinfectants, with the goal of having multiple people in each building capable of treating their area. In the future, operations may expand opening the way for people with disabilities to develop new skills with the equipment. DRTC employs approximately 300 people at its custodial contracts.

“Offering this training would encourage skill development and build confidence for our staff,” said Carolyn Thompson, DRTC Director of Custodial Services.

Cleaning Industry Management Standards (CIMS) has certified DRTC’s federal contract locations since 2012. The most recent re-certification, in 2020, again saw DRTC pass with honors. CIMS is sponsored by ISSA, The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association.

Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC) is Oklahoma’s leading community vocational training and employment center for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. With multiple locations in Oklahoma, DRTC trains, serves or employs approximately 1,000 people with disabilities per year. Visit us online: DRTC.org.