Metro Manufacturer Embraces MRCI Opportunity
Making The Most of a Unique Work Force Resource
Really, Brian Franke just wanted to work. It was important to him to earn his own money. But employers just weren’t giving him a chance. Not because his body wasn’t physically capable. It was. Not because his mind wasn’t ready. It was. Brian’s disability, his barrier to employment, was his autism diagnosis.
“I was moved by Brian’s story,” explains Applied Power Products Plant Superintendent Frank Sager. “People would dismiss him before even seeing what he could do, which is their loss because he is an awesome worker.”
Brian started at APP in Lakeville almost a year ago. APP is a gasket maker, making parts for different types of manufacturers like Toro and Caterpillar. Brian fit right in with the company’s other 100 or so employees.
“Brian is hands down one of our better employees because he does what he is asked right away. His attendance is impeccable. He is just the ideal employee. He is a very, very hard worker,” says Sager.
Alejandra Torres, APP Expediter, works closely with Brian.
“We always have to have work lined up because he’ll finish one job and immediately start looking for something more to do!” say Torres.
Brian’s employment was so successful, APP reached out to MRCI for more employees and now have a work crew and another direct hire.
“Having the work crew has been a great help with the more tedious jobs we have to do,” says Torres. “Sometimes we have thousands of little parts to clean or punch out. That would take two or three of our employees two or three days to complete. But the work crew comes in and gets it done in a matter of hours."
More than just seeing the work get done though, Sager and Torres enjoy seeing the MRCI clients grow.
“For example, Brian E. is part of the MRCI work crew, but he has come such a long way in learning the work we do and our systems, that we have him working more independently now. He is also just a wonderful worker,” says Sager.
The success of the APP/MRCI partnership is built on the opportunity extended by APP and embraced by MRCI clients.
“You gotta give everyone a chance,” says Sager. “These individuals want to fit in and they want to do the best they can. They deserve a chance.”
Torres says the other employees have made the environment at APP an inclusive one, one they can all benefit from.
“I would just say don’t judge a book by its cover,” she says. “They are awesome workers! Employers that are not looking at this as an option are really missing out!”