Jobs Help People with Disabilities Reach New Heights in Mankato Area

Mankato Mayo Clinic

Thanks to a grant through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Extended Employment Program, Lifeworks Mankato is able to provide specialized job placement and assistance to people on the autism spectrum.

Through this program, Lifeworks supports 15 individuals who work at various businesses throughout the Mankato community, including: Schwickert’s Tecta America, Truck Bodies & Equipment International, Carlson Craft, Panera Bread, and Kwik Trip.

Chelsea Skinner, lead staff member on the project, prepared for this unique role by participating in an intensive five-session training through Autism Society of Minnesota where she earned an autism spectrum disorder certification.

Through dedication and specialized trainings like these, Lifeworks is able to provide the highest-quality care to all clients.

Best Western Hotel & Restaurant Celebrates 15-Year Milestone

When Lifeworks first started serving the Mankato community back in 2000, Best Western Hotel & Restaurant was one of the first businesses to partner with us to employ people with disabilities. Today – 15 years later – their commitment to diversity in the local workforce is as strong as ever.

“On a day-to-day [basis], they’ve been great, showing up every day and being able to work around our busy schedules here,” said Best Western General Manager Arlene Herzberg, referring to the 15 Lifeworks associates who work on the housekeeping and janitorial teams.

For many individuals, identifying their particular skills and interests can go a long way. Take Jordan Wolters, for example. While he has worked at a variety of jobs over the past 10 years, he has excelled in his role at Best Western.

“Typically I’m just mostly the bed person,” Wolters said. “I make beds every single day. I do some dusting and vacuuming, but mostly beds. I’ve been doing this for eight years.”

With a renewed focus on identifying individuals with the skills and interests to succeed, the mutually beneficial relationship between Lifeworks and Best Western will continue to grow stronger.

A Successful New Partnership with Mayo Clinic Health System

Lifeworks Associate Lance Kopischke works the overnight shift at Mayo Clinic Health System – Mankato.

Lifeworks Associate Lance Kopischke works the overnight shift at Mayo Clinic Health System – Mankato.

At Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Lifeworks client Lance Kopischke has excelled as a floor care technician for the past three months. In his role, Kopischke works independently as the lone floor care expert on the 11 p.m.-7 a.m. overnight shift cleaning everything from rugs to fire escapes.

“I prefer using the T7,” Kopischke said, referencing the Tennant T7 Micro Rider Floor Scrubber, which he frequently uses during his shift. “I clean the floors and scrub and vacuum, clean the carpet.”

To perform his duties, Kopischke also uses the Terra 28B Floor Sweeper and other industrial cleaning machines that improve precision on the job. Although the unusual hours would seem daunting to some people, Kopischke said he envisions this as a long-term position.

“He is one of our employees who just always comes in with a smile on his face,” said Lindsey Benson, environmental services supervisor for evenings and overnights. “We are here for the patients and it’s always good to have somebody positive coming in ready to work, wanting to be here and excited about it.”

In just a short time, Kopischke’s success has opened the door to an expanded partnership between Lifeworks and Mayo Clinic Health System.

“It’s a collaborative effort on both of our parts working together,” Benson said.