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For Good

Local employer teams up with Starfire, builds inclusive workplace environment

Craig Ihlendorf and Catherine Bennett accept the 2016 Ohio Employer of the Year Award.

Catherine Bennett and Craig Ihlendorf.


Catherine Bennett and Craig Ihlendorf have worked closely with one another since September 2015, which is when Ihlendorf started working at Kinetic Vision.

Prior to his work at the engineering consulting firm in Evendale, Ihlendorf was unfulfilled by his job.

“It was okay,” Ihlendorf said. “But I didn't really care about what I did. I didn't get to work on anything that was important to me.”

Now that’s all changed, and the impact can be seen in a variety of capacities. 

On Oct. 18, Kinetic Vision received the 2016 Ohio Employer of the Year Award from the Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities, and Ihlendorf feels valued. The organization was recognized for its inclusive workplace environment for people with disabilities.

“When I go to work, I get to be around other people who like the same things I do,” Ihlendorf said. “When I suggest something, they really listen and encourage me.”
A quick look at Starfire
  • 89 percent of members attained a valued social role such as a volunteer position, internship, or job after being served for at least 150 hours in our community building model.
  • Citizens and people with developmental disabilities collaborated on 20 inclusive community building projects such as a sewing group that donated handmade baby bibs and burp cloths to at-risk mothers, an urban hiking group, and a community biking fundraiser.
  • 92 percent of people with developmental disabilities supported by Starfire saw an increase in their social network through new relationships to people who are unpaid and not family (up from 65 percent since 2015). 
  •  Starfire will be poised to serve 100 people in this community building model by the end of 2016

The pairing was made possible by Starfire — a local nonprofit that helps individuals with disabilities discover their talents through relationship building, then places them in communities where they can thrive. Working with one person and their family at a time, Starfire connects people to relationships and uncovers a person's talents and passions so they can thrive in their communities alongside their neighbors.

Kinetic Vision wasn’t concerned with Ihlendorf’s disability. Instead, they saw his passion and ability to work with computers, and as a result, both the company and the individual are seeing positive results.

Do Good: 

•    Want to help Starfire build a more inclusive community? Connect with the nonprofit.

•    Like Starfire on Facebook.

•    Learn more about Kinetic Vision, and connect on LinkedIn.
 

Read more articles by Brittany York.

Brittany York is a freelance writer, adjunct English composition instructor and server at Orchids at Palm Court. She loves travel and photography. Keep up with Brittany on Instagram @brittbrittbrittbrittany.
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