DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — October is National Disability Employment Awareness month, and United Rehabilitation Services is spotlighting the success of two brothers.
For 23-year-old twins Kyle and Kalib Strines, it has been a journey. They faced many challenges living with autism, but that has never stopped them; both brothers successfully secured jobs with the help of the programs offered by URS.
“I’ve worked down the hall from them the whole time that I’ve been here at the hospital for the past six years, and to walk shoulder to shoulder with them, you can’t help but have a positive attitude and want to deliver 100% every day just like they do,” stated Jessica Pettit, Director of Volunteer and Auxiliary Services for Springfield Regional Medical Center and the liaison for Project SEARCH. “We are able to bring in these very gifted students who are finding their way in the world and learning how to be independent, and that just goes right along with all of our mission and core values.”
Kyle is a dishwasher in the kitchen at Springfield Regional Medical Center.
“I like to encounter being with a team, working as a group,” said Kyle. “My first job was housekeeping. Before that it was in the linen department.”
Kalib is an assembler with the Rural King in Springfield.
“What I love is about building things. It’s good to work with my hands,” smiled Kalib.
According to URS Executive Director Dennis Grant, the Strines took part in the URS Employment Services Program in 2016 and then participated in the Summer Youth Career Exploration Program.
“The program has helped me to be a better example for others,” Kyle said.
“Through our work with people with disabilities over the years and through our training, we’ve learned a lot about what people with disabilities are capable of doing in the community,” said Jeremy Nelson, URS Employment Service Manager.
In 2018, the Strines enrolled in the Project SEARCH Program, and after completing training, a year later, they both were employed.
“They offer a lot of value to the workplace,” stated Nelson. “We think it’s really cool that these employers take an interest hiring people with disabilities and doing something different than they may have done normally.”
Grant said Kalib has come full circle, becoming a mentor for others in the program.
“It was a little bit hard for me to teach them,” admitted Kalib. “But at the same time, it was also an honor and a responsibility.”
The honor and reward is even greater for those who have the opportunity to work alongside the brothers.
“During the pandemic, there’s been a staffing shortage, and the partnership that we’ve had with United Rehabilitation Services through Project SEARCH and their ability to fill some much needed positions that have not been filled is a tremendous help. And their contribution to our culture is boundless. The things that they support whether it’s their positive attitude, their incredibly strong work ethic, their determination to do well, be well, and make sure the rest of us are too is something that you just can’t teach,” said Pettit.
URS has been serving children and adults with disabilities in our area since 1956.