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Equal Opportunity

July 6, 2010, 10:05 PM by Courtney Zieller

SIOUX FALLS, SD - If you've recently lost your job, you know how difficult it can be to find a new one. But imagine if you had a disability.  That could pose even more challenges.

A Sioux Falls job coach is hoping to fix that by making it easier for those with disabilities to find jobs they'll thrive at.
After working ten years at a strenuous job, Gilberto Doniso needed to find something new that better fits his needs because of a physical disability. After getting help from a job coach, he's finally at a job he's excelling at.

"The job is better.  It's not too hard, nice job. I'm happy," Doniso said.

For more than a year, he's been detailing new and used cars. His supervisor says he's doing it so well that he's become a valuable employee.

"His personality and his willingness to work with us and his quality consciousness; he wants to do a good job and he does," Body Shop Manager Gale Ljunggren said.

And his disability isn't stopping him from succeeding.

"He seems very capable. We haven't run into an issue at all with his disability. We're always conscious of it.  It hasn't been a problem and I don't anticipate that ever being a problem," Ljunggren said.

There's a way for employers to find good, quality workers like Doniso and it's as simple as a click of a mouse.

"We provide good quality people just like any other employment agency so we thought why can't we have a website that's informational that employers can go to," Ted Ornas said. 

Ornas with On-the-Job Employment Services has been working with people with disabilities for many years. He recently started a website for both his clients and businesses in the Sioux Falls area.

"It was something we wanted to do for a long time. There are so many different job websites, so many different employment agencies. We're no different; the only difference with us is our clients have some type of disability," Ornas said.

Employers visiting the website simply click on "client qualifications" to see a list of who is looking for work and their qualifications.

"Whether it's customer service, computer programmer, maintenance, health care, food services and it states how much experience they have," Ornas said.

While it doesn't list a name because of privacy issues, companies are hiring from it.

"It just now starting to catch on and people are becoming aware of it more," Ornas said.

And that's giving employers variety when searching for new hires.

"When they come to us, they are ready to work and the majority of people that come to us have a good attitude, have a good work ethic and a lot of times that's just what it takes.  That's what employers are looking for now," Ornas said.

"Good employees are hard to find. We found Ted is very good at filling the position that you need and we definitely would do it again," Ljunggren said.

And that partnership is showing people with disabilities can do just as well as those without one.

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