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Recurring Support is Key

Lisa meets periodically with Janna Runkler from Employment Services to discuss her goals at work.

For more than 40 years, Innovative’s Employment Services has been placing adults with developmental disabilities in a variety of jobs, suited to their skill levels, in businesses and organizations throughout Clark County. A combination of proper job placement and on-going job coaching have contributed to a high number of these adults remaining in their job for 10 years or more.

Right Person, Right Job In early 2000, Lori was placed as a full-time Clerical Support Specialist at the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) in Vancouver through Innovative. Sue Gassner, Sr. Certified Employment Professional (CEP), has worked with Lori for part of her 18 years in this position. Sue meets with Lori twice a month and occasionally checks in with her manager, Tessy Liston, to help Lori reach her monthly and yearly goals. Her job duties include assisting with the issuance and securing of EBT cards, helping clients in the Washington Connections Lobby, collecting and distributing mail, assisting with maintenance and calendaring of department cars, and answering email.“What Lori does is the foundation of other jobs and her support holds them together,” said Tessy.

Lisa, another long-time Employment Services participant, has worked as an Office Aide at the Robert L. Harris Juvenile Justice Center in downtown Vancouver for more than 16 years. With the assistance of CEP Janna Runkler, she has improved over the years at her tasks such as filing, handling the mail, covering the main reception desk, taking external calls, laminating signs, and directing teenagers who come in for court dates. “One of the things I enjoy about working with Lisa is that she is very proactive and communicates clearly in letting me know that she wants to broaden her horizon and expand her duties,” said Janna.

Lisa’s manager, Deanne Paris said, We value Lisa’s ability to greet clients with a gracious smile and a kind welcome. Our staff knows they can rely on Lisa for various tasks to be completed.”

Twenty-eight people work in jobs supported by Innovative Employment Services staff. Some positions include assembler, janitor, office support, shuttle bus driver, child care provider, mail room clerk, and stocker. For more information about Innovative’s Employment Services program, contact Program Manager Catrina Williams, at

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