Kevin Rodli is an office assistant in the Human Resources’ (HR) Shared Services team at the Department of Human Services (DHS). He works 40 hours per week filing personnel and medical files. He also works on scanning and photocopying projects.
"Kevin is always willing to do whatever is needed, and always ready to learn new things," said Jennifer Walker, executive support specialist for HR Shared Services and Kevin’s direct supervisor.
Kevin, who experiences cerebral palsy, was hired by DHS in May 2015 through Employment First efforts to encourage state agencies to hire more individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Becky Daniels, HR Director at DHS, agreed to look for opportunities in HR for individuals with I/DD. HR Shared Services then identified the need for an office assistant to help with filing and other tasks.
Tracy Garcia, HR Shared Services Administrator, said Kevin was the first person they interviewed for the office assistant position. They knew he was a good fit immediately.
"Alphabetizing is very critical to this job, and Kevin told us a story about how he has this whole system for alphabetizing all his CDs by performer and dates released," Tracy said. "His enthusiasm is infectious. He reminds us to be grateful and happy when we are here."
Kevin said he likes all aspects of his job, but one of his favorite parts is when he gets to lead team huddles.
"I try to make it humorous," he said, smiling and nodding enthusiastically. "I like being a part of huddle."
Kevin works side-by-side most days with his coworker Robbie Condon, who does filing and office work as well. He received job coaching from MV Advancements when he first started his job, but now works independently with occasional help from coworkers and his supervisor.
"I was shaky at first," Kevin said. "But I started remembering stuff. It started to get familiar. I gave myself one new thing to remember. I set a new goal for myself, one at a time."
Kevin takes the public bus to work in the morning and his father picks him up in the evening. He is very involved in his church. Before coming to DHS, Kevin volunteered at the Salem Evangelical Church. He also worked as a courtesy clerk in the past.
"I like an air conditioned environment," he said. "I really like working with Robbie, my mentor."
Kevin said his parents are pleased he is working full-time and becoming more independent.
"They are really happy for me," he said.
Tracy said from the employer perspective, she encourages other state agencies to embrace the Employment First initiative and considering hiring individuals with I/DD. If your agency or program is interested in hiring individuals with I/DD, contact the Employment First team at firstname.lastname@example.org on more information regarding this initiative and the process.
"If I had to do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat," Tracy said. "Kevin really adds value to the workplace and has given us so much more than we have given him."
Kevin’s VR counselor was Elizabeth Frank at the South Salem VR branch. His personal agent is Nicole Anglin at Resource Connections of Oregon.
You can view a video of Kevin at his job