A team of dedicated workers fans out across the aisles at Crest Foods at Northwest 23rd and Meridian—but they aren’t wearing a Crest uniform. They’re people with disabilities developing various skills through a partnership between nonprofit Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC) and the grocery store.
Marcia, Master Scheduler of Area A in the Vocational Services Program, leads the group of 6-7 workers in tasks ranging from fronting food items to cleaning price tags and the store shelves.
Today, Austin, Cassidy, Charlotte, Cory, Jay, and Troyce made the half-mile walk from DRTC to Crest.
Once set up with their cleaning supplies, the team sprang into action making shelves shine.
“I like cleaning,” said Troyce, who has taken part in this training before. Troyce normally works on subcontracting projects at DRTC, but also enjoys being out in the community.
For Jay, the training at Crest is getting him ready for the future. He wants to get a job in the community.
“I want to learn how to clean the floors,” Jay stated as he meticulously worked. “I want to work.”
DRTC’s team’s efforts have been getting attention. In the year-long program, Marcia says store managers have complimented DRTC participants for the skills.
Josh, the Front End Manager at Crest, says they’ve hired one or two people from DRTC.
“(It) helps us out too, because we might not be able to get to some of that stuff,” Josh said.
Cory, who has been with DRTC since 1997, is proud of her work, but jokingly knows her limits. She recalled a time a customer approached her one time as she was cleaning.
“The customer asked, ‘Do you do windows?’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t do windows,’” she remembered.
Marcia also led a sacking course teaching the team how to properly sack items, making sure to pair like items while not crushing others. Some had difficulties at first, but the more they did it, the better they performed.
Being in a repetitive environment can be beneficial because it allows individuals with DRTC training to become more comfortable and work faster. Marcia said one team cleaned all the aisles at Crest in one hour.
Their work done, the team put away their supplies and returned other items used for training. Then they walked to enjoy a much-earned lunch and return to DRTC to finish out their work day.
DRTC thanks Crest Foods for their partnership and helping provide new opportunities for people with disabilities!
You have work. We have workers!
Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC) is the oldest and largest community vocational training and employment center for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. With multiple locations in Oklahoma, DRTC trains or employs more than 1,100 people with disabilities per year. Visit us online: DRTC.org.