Dennis Berentson’s goal was to continue working independently in the community. After searching for jobs that piqued his interest, he applied on his own and was hired!
Berentson began his job as a dishwasher and cleaner at The Boulder Tap House in Mankato in October 2017 and has become a great asset to the team.
“For Dennis, honestly, he is enthused and he comes here ready to go,” said Kitchen Manager Luke Orbeck. “He’s always smiling and laughing. He’s a character. I really enjoy working with him.”
Berentson is one of about 110 employees at the Boulder Tap House, including 40 on the kitchen staff.
“What can I say, everybody’s very nice to me,” Berentson said. “The camaraderie. The people are very personable. I like it.”
Compared to previous jobs, Berentson said he is very happy with the work environment at The Boulder Tap House.
I like this job much better than any other job,” Berentson said. “I need people to respect me for who I am and I’ve found Boulder Tap does. That’s all I can say, everybody’s great.”
“Dennis works mainly lunches for us, which then he’s our only dishwasher during lunches, which is great,” Orbeck said. “He will literally help out wherever. He brings ideas up all the time that he’s seen other places. He’s always busy. There’s a good hour rush.”
In about 25 hours a week, Berentson accomplishes a lot and works hard to keep pace.
“Very busy,” Berentson said. “If you don’t keep going, you’re buried.”
Though he takes great pride in his independence, Berentson knows that Lifeworks is there for him if he needs support.
“I call when I need help. Amy answers,” Berentson said, referring to Lifeworks Job Coach Amy Herz.
Having Herz and other Lifeworks staff members available is something that Orbeck appreciates as well.
Working with Lifeworks, going to Amy or going to anyone is really nice because they can actually come down and work with them personally, and talk with them,” Orbeck said.
Besides Berentson, Orbeck said other individuals with disabilities are contributors on his team as well, and the restaurant has benefited from having a diverse workforce.
“Personally, for me, they work harder than I see pretty much anyone else work,” Orbeck said. “They’ll work for you every single day. They’ll be on time, and reliable, and ready to go.”
By all accounts, those qualities are the perfect description of Berentson.