Marlee Fejes of Common Grounds
October is National Employment for People with Disabilities Month which raises awareness about employment issues and the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. National data provided by American Society of Safety Engineers shows that people with developmental disabilities have a 48% lower turnover rate, 67% lower medical costs, and ask for 73% less time off from their positions. This data also shows that 50% would like to work at a community job. In celebration of October’s label locally, the Ottawa County Board of DD would like to spotlight two employees at Common Grounds Café and Catering, Marlee Fejes and Mac Gilleland.
Lynn James, Manager of Port Clinton’s Common Grounds, states they offer an opportunity for people with developmental disabilities to learn skills at the coffee shop that can be transferred into other community employment should they move on. New employees start by learning the basics such as dishwashing and clean up and climb the ladder as their skill level increases.
Employees Marlee and Mac have been working at Common Grounds since June, and have increased their skill level and are now responsible for a variety of tasks. Marlee shared her favorite part of working at Common Grounds is making breakfast sandwiches for customers. For Mac, he likes being around the people, both customers and his co-workers. He said they are top notch!
Mac Gilleland of Common Grounds
In the kitchen, employees obtain skills such as food safety and preparation, and making cookies and decorating donuts. Employees at Common Grounds enjoy greeting customers in the café, taking phone orders, and whipping up your favorite beverage or sandwich. In addition to kitchen responsibilities, employees run the cash register, do prep work and clean the café. Lynn pointed out that “employees see a customer through from start to finish!”
The service doesn’t stop there as workers from Common Grounds also provide catering services. This fall employees look forward to attending local festivals as well as hosting their own “We Love Our Customers!” Day on Oct. 11th with a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting, free samples, and door prizes. So, if you can, stop by and see Marlee and Mac at Common Grounds, they would love to meet you and recommend something from the menu. Common Grounds is located in the Sutton Center at 1848 E. Perry Street, Port Clinton.