Bridging The Gap Walk On Saturday

Wednesday, April 29th 2009, 4:59 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- More than 4,000 developmentally disabled Oklahomans sit on a waiting list to get vocational services and training. The fortunate ones who are getting the training become productive team members and valued employees.

Chamekia and Jennifer both have jobs.  Chamekia stacks tags as they come off a printer.  Jennifer sorts and assembles packets of stickers to be used as trade show giveaways.  They also serve as their own quality control inspectors.

They work at U.S. Safety Signs.  Randy Clay loves their work ethic.

"They are here every day not just on time, but early.  And, they are extremely focused until the job's done," said Randy Clay.

Jennifer and Chamekia are clients of the Bridges Foundation. The foundation helps people with developmental disabilities get vocational training. They've been doing that in Tulsa for 45 years.

"Our goal for any clients we serve is to try to find them a job independent out in the community," said Jeff Summers with Bridges.

Clients are referred to the foundation by a division of DHS. There are more than 4,000 people on a waiting list in Oklahoma for the training that is offered. With more community partners like U.S. Safety Sign, they could train more people.

The foundation provides a job coach.  She trains the clients well enough to be independent.

One of the Bridges' board members said their clients are people, who through no fault of their own, could have a free pass from working and yet they don't want it.

The fifth annual Bridging the Gap Walk is set for Saturday afternoon at Centennial Park.