Creating Ripples


We talk a lot about hiring people with disabilities not just because it’s our mission and we believe it’s the right thing to do, but because we know from first-hand experience that it Works! All it takes is one small act of being willing to investigate what it will entail and how it might work for your organization. Before you know it you will have created a ripple effect.

Klynt started out in our production area where he worked in the Pearl Buck Center metal room then moved up to the janitorial crew, and then when he was ready he moved out into a community job working at Fuller Cabinet as a shop clean up person and now he is making cabinets.

James, came to us looking for work, we put him to work on our janitorial crew, where he has some responsibilities. He drives and often fills in at several locations and has also been doing temporary work in our postal department.

Aaron had been working at a pizza shop for quite a few years and wanted to do something different. We found a place for him on our janitorial crew where he is thriving, making friends and feels valued.

Lyndon had been working at Dari Mart for several years when it became too hard for him to keep up, but he wasn’t ready to retire so he came to our janitorial crew. and put in another few years before he retired.

Kelly came to us seeking work and we placed her in our very own Community Services department as an administrative assistant, where she has been challenged to learn and try new things.

Nicole, Molly, and Courtney all  were interested in child care. After doing assessments and showing that they could perform the job of Teacher’s assistant, the Pearl Buck Preschool hired them on.

Chris was desperate to find a job so he could support his daughter, we placed him in a dishwashing position with the now defunct Eagles Lodge on Irving Road. When he came back to us seeking work again, we put him to work as a delivery driver.

Julian was referred to us by Vocational Rehabilitation. We found him a community job, but after doing an assessment in our LEAP department it was clear that he has an aptitude with the people that we serve and we found him a place on our Community Placements team as well, working as a job coach.

So you can see we have hired people to fill a variety of positions within our very own walls, where they are working as part of a team, thriving, and earning a minimum wage paycheck. There are more individuals with disabilities on our payroll that I could list. Each person filling a real need that  Pearl Buck Center has experienced as a result of our continued growth

We have been successful in hiring people experiencing disabilities and have supported them to excel at the work that they do. This makes us better equipped to teach others on how to best implement people with disabilities into a workplace. We know first hand what it takes to succeed. Contact us, we can help you figure out how your business can do the same.  community.employment

You never know how one small act, of hiring someone with a disability can affect your community.



Job seeker: Amanda Smith

Meet one of our newest job seekers; Amanda. She is interested in finding a job where she can learn new things and make a living for herself. Amanda would like to find work that entails working with animals, or stocking, cleaning, customer service,…actually she is interested in just about anything, where she can learn and grow and made to feel a part of the team.

This young woman feels that she  has the skills to; stock shelves, wash dishes, clean office spaces or clean up after animals. Amanda says that [she] “just wants to work and I’ll do just about anything.”

Amanda loves animals, especially her dog Banshee. She has been volunteering at the 1st Avenue Animal Shelter for a little over a  year now as part of her work study in the Community Living Program during the school year. She also willingly volunteered during the summer last year, just because she likes being around the animals so much.

Could you use someone like Amanda in your business or know of a place that would make a good first job for her? Can you think of a way to create a place in your work site that could accomodate Amanda and her abilities? Contact her job developer; Lorie Polk at

Amanda Hired

Job Seeker: Lonnie Ofsthun

Lonny's Poster

Meet Lonnie a very dependable & determined guy who knows what he wants. Lonnie comes from a family of truck drivers and his dream is to one day get a Commercial Driver’s License. He is currently seeking a part/time driving position. He would like to get some more experience driving a large truck but will settle for any position that puts him in the driver’s seat.

Lonnie has been driving since 1987; he has a current noncommercial driver’s license with a farm endorsement, a clean driving record and recently passed a USDOT physical exam.

He has a history of longevity with past and present employers. Currently employed at Goodwill Industries since 2011 as Warehouse Assistant sorting donated clothing items. Prior to that, he worked at a Northwest Auto Auction driving vehicles to and from dealerships for 9 years. Before that he was cleaning stalls and operating a Bobcat at Eugene Live Stock for 7 Years. He also has some experience driving large farm trucks and trailers.

Work is very important to Lonnie, he shows up on time and ready to work each day. He says, he is at his best when he is behind the wheel. If you or someone you know is looking for a part time driver who is eager to learn, you can contact his job developer; Linda Cox at 541-337-9498 or by email at

Job Seeker: Barbie Bodin

Barbie is a peppy woman who is eager to put her 4 years of dishwashing experience to use. Barbie worked at Mackinaw’s Restaurant in Washington prior to moving to Springfield. She washed dishes, did some light food prep and cleaned floors while working at Mackinaw’s. When asked what she liked about that job, Barbie responded with “It was easy, I loved doing it, it’s Fun! I like to get it done.”

Barbie says that she is very positive- “I always see the good side”, organized-“I keep all my things in their place”, and a hard worker- ” I just want the job done. I don’t mess around. I’ll do what needs to be done without attitude.”

Barbie has an updated Oregon food handlers’ card and is ready to get to work when she isn’t out hitting the pavement looking for work on her own or with her job developer, Barbie is volunteering at the United Methodist Church, serving food to the homeless.

If you feel that you have room for this outgoing, hardworking, go-getter on your team give Doris Steele a call at (541)484.4666 or email her;



Job Seeker: Kirk Hatalla

Kirk is a quiet young man who lives with his family in the outskirts of Springfield. He is interested in finding part-time work in either the  janitorial or production arena. His dream job would be working in housekeeping in a hotel.

Kirk has been working at Pearl Buck Center in the spice room packaging Red Ape products and has found that he really likes this type of work.

The main reason that Kirk is seeking work is to gain experience and earn some money, but mostly he wants to stay busy so as to not be bored. He feels that he is a hard worker, with the intent to do the best that he can to ensure that the job gets done. Kirk has enjoyed working alone in the past because it is less distracting, however, he has thrived working in the Pearl Buck Spice room with his co-workers, making friends and working hard to get the tasks completed.

If you feel that Kirk would fit in with your organization or know of a place that would benefit from having Kirk as an employee, please contact Doris Steele;

Kirk's PosterHired!

Pearl Buck Center: Your Employ-ment Resource

Pearl Buck Center, Incorporated has been around for 60 years, yet it’s amazing that there are still many people who aren’t familiar with who we are or with some of what we do.

FullSizeRender (3)

So, we decided to make a short video, that hopefully will help shed some better light on the subject. And if after watching this presentation, you still have some questions, please don’t hesitate in contacting us. We would love to talk or better yet, give you a tour.

Allen Quinn Video Resume

We’ve introduced Allen previously (May 6th, 2015 post), but take a look at his video resume, where he shows his zest for life, along with his varied interests and abilities.

This is a man who has enjoyed life by volunteering his time to contribute to his community, as well as being a family man by taking an active role in raising his two sons. Allen would like to extend his involvement in the community to include re-entering the working world again.

Allen dreams of making a difference and perhaps even making a little extra money to fund some of the things he likes doing, like; horseback riding, going camping, attending UO games and working on his recumbent trike.

Allen LOVES interacting with people and would love to find a part-time job where he can be comfortable exchanging playful and witty conversations, being of service and making a difference. We’re hoping that after seeing all of the things that Allen can do, on his video resume, someone will come to the realization that they can’t go another day without asking him to join their team. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and schedule an interview today…we’ll be waiting.



Michael’s story: a graphic novel

Our community employment team is in the process of revamping our promotional materials. Here is the second brochure in a series of three. We know, we started in the middle – just like Star Wars,…this is going to be epic!

Let us know what you think in the comments. Enjoy!

~ “The Job Squad”

Job Seeker: Candace Hamilton

Meet Candace.

She is one our newest job seekers. Candace recently graduated from high school, and is currently participating in the 4J school district’s Community Living Program, where she is gaining work experience working at UO Hamilton Hall, performing,  food & customer service duties. She has done everything from, food prep to cash handling. She has even stepped in to fill a supervisory role amongst her peers.  Candace is excited to find her first paying job so she can venture out on her own and make her own way in life.

Candace dreams of someday attending cosmetology school, but until then she would like to work in a retail setting. Because Candace enjoys fashion she would like to find a job where she can help people make their apparel selections, or do some sort of retail job where she can be around people. Candace says that she really wants to be able to help people and make them happy. “I Just really like waiting on  people and helping them, it’s fun.”  She would also like to learn more about the customer service industry whether it is in clothing, food service or even in caregiving.  Candace feels that finding work where she is serving others would be a great place to build her skills.

When Candace isn’t in her classes with CLP she enjoys spending time hanging out with her friends at the mall, getting her nails done or playing basketball.

If you can see Candace working for you or know of someone who could benefit from employing her, please contact her job developer, Lorie Polk, at .


On the Job with Community Employment

Keenan Toole

This week’s post is authored by contributor Clayton Cone.

For Keenan Toole, tool crib operator was a job he couldn’t pass up: it had good pay, good benefits and, as he would come to appreciate, good hours, at 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. He took the job, his first, and has worked at it since the fall of 2012.

Toole’s employment consultant, Lorie Polk, knew he liked working with tools, so when an advertisement for a shop position was posted on Craigslist, Polk asked Purakal, a Eugene-area manufacturer, for an interview. Purakal designs, constructs and repairs cylinders, some so big they operate the draw on a drawbridge. A tool crib operator tracks tools, sharpens drill bits and uses complex measuring devices, such as calipers.

Michael Bentley, Production Manager at Purakal, said that Polk was “instrumental” in the hiring process. She worked side-by-side with Toole 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and over the course of 4 weeks, a trial work-period that the Pearl Buck Center used for training. During that time, Bentley liked Toole’s work, so Purakal offered him the job.

Polk said Purakal employees taught her about the machines, tools and devices, and then she instructed Toole. After taking lots of notes, she made step-by-step written instructions based on what she was taught and what further instruction she was able to find online. She made 11 lists altogether, including a shop schedule. Lists covered how to sharpen a drill bit, how to dress a grinding stone and how to read calipers, among others.

Bentley said Polk also modeled a level of patience in working with Toole that Bentley and others at Purakal emulated.

Polk’s supervisor, Assistant Director of Adult Services Holly Powell said, “(Polk) is good at coming in and observing what can be done to make a person successful by adding a list or changing a routine.” She also said Polk is effective in both helping people get jobs and helping people keep them. Moreover, Polk, who has worked as an employment consultant with the Pearl Buck Center since 2008, can enlighten an employer as to how accommodations could enable a person with a disability to be hired on, Powell said.

Powell said Polk’s lists for Purakal were “simple and brilliant,” and they were necessary, as there was no manual to refer to.

Polk checked in with Bentley at the 6-month mark to see if any more training was needed and again at 1 year, but none was, Bentley said. Toole was working independently.

By April of 2014, Toole has had two pay raises—to $10.50 an hour, he said. Although he sharpened bits for nearly 1-1/2 years, he now disassembles cylinders, which sometimes weigh more than a car; and he cleans bathrooms, sweeps the warehouse floor and occasionally does yard work, for variety. Toole said he likes heavy-duty air tools, and he gets to use a torque gun in taking the cylinders apart. He likes his work.

Toole is finding his niche.

“He has been earning his keep, that’s for sure—and he’s pretty well liked,” said Bentley. “He’s a very productive guy.”

Toole has a future with Purakal.

“Our company has been very busy,” Bentley said. “We had a busy 2013, and we’re sure to have a busy 2014; and he is going to be a part of it.”

Purakal has been pleased with the Pearl Buck Center’s efforts.

“The whole thing went wonderfully,” Bentley said. “(The Pearl Buck Center) was able to come in and do the training, and we got a great guy out of it.”