White House to Recognize Falmouth Resident for Leadership in Employing People with Disabilities in Maine Bookmark and Share

October 13, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 13, 2014
Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, cell: 557-1483

Highlights Procter & Gamble’s model partnership with the Maine Department of Labor

AUGUSTA—On October 14, 2014 at 1:30 p.m., the White House will honor David Bartage of Falmouth, plant finance manager of Procter and Gamble’s facility in Auburn, as a "Champion of Change"—part of a focus on people doing extraordinary work to create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

A video describing the employment program at the P&G plant is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_R9xoRSdeM&feature=youtu.be .

“Fewer than one third of working-age Mainers with disabilities are employed. Of those seeking work, nearly 20 percent are unemployed,” said Governor Paul LePage. “Procter and Gamble’s partnership with our Department of Labor’s vocational rehabilitation program to identify, train and employ people with disabilities continues to gain national recognition and serves as a role model for other Maine employers looking to diversify their workforce. Our goal is to connect everyone who wants to work with meaningful employment and all of the benefits that come with a good job.”

Bartage’s leadership helped develop accessible employment opportunities at the Auburn plant’s FlexiCenter, where 40 percent of employees are individuals with disabilities. Since the FlexiCenter’s inception, there has been an increase in customization productivity and workforce morale across the entire plant.

“The Tambrands plant in Auburn is the first P&G plant to undertake such an initiative,” stated Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette. “David and P&G have been helping us promote disability inclusion in Maine by sharing their business process, results and lessons learned. We are proud to be a partner in employing people in good-paying jobs with the team at P&G in Auburn.”

The Auburn plant used an existing part-time hiring model that fit the staffing needs of the FlexiCenter. All employees have the same work expectations, as well as pay, without exception.

This model enables people with disabilities to find meaningful work and has been recognized by Disability Matters with their 2012 Workforce Award. The FlexiCenter employment model has also received statewide recognition from the Maine Chamber of Commerce, the Governor’s Award, and the Employer of the Year Award from the Disability Rights Center.

The Champions of Change event will be live-streamed on the White House website at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Maine’s vocational rehabilitation program is part of the department’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. In 2014, it assisted 1,003 individuals with disabilities in finding employment. In 2013, the 921 clients the program help employ earned combined wages totaling almost $18 million.

Maine employers who are interested in learning more about the benefits of diversifying their workforce can contact the Business Relations Team at 1-855-ALL-HIRE. At no charge to the employer, BRS can provide access to prescreened, qualified job applicants; assistance with determining workplace accommodations; job retention and return-to-work services; information about financial incentives for hiring persons with disabilities and additional resources.

People can access services through Maine’s statewide network of CareerCenters or by visiting http://www.employmentforme.org and http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/disabilities/index.shtml .

To find out the location of your local CareerCenter, call 1-888-457-888 (TTY users dial Maine Relay 711) or visit http://www.mainecareercenter.com . Maine CareerCenters are an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

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Correction: The spelling of Procter was corrected from an earlier version.