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PersonnelPlus celebrates its clients and new location

The Athens Messenger - 9/9/2017

PersonnelPlus Employment Services, an Athens-based agency that helps people with disabilities find long-term jobs, held an open house in front of its new location in The Market on State to celebrate its clients and the businesses that employ them.

Personnel Plus moved from their former location in The Plains to their new location in the mall on May 1. Though smaller in size, the new space allows for a more open office area that enhances communication between staff, according to training coordinator Heather Clemons.

The new location also puts the agency right in an active business district, which is beneficial for both its employee and employer clients as well as the agency.

Friday's event was a way to recognize the new location and celebrate the growth the agency and its clients have seen in the 34 years Personnel Plus has functioned. September is the agency's anniversary month.

"It's also a way of saying we recognize individuals with disabilities," said Doug Mitchell, the director of employment options for the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities - the parent agency to Personnel Plus.

Addressing the ceremony's attendees, Mitchell noted Athens has seen growth in opportunities for people with disabilities over the years.

"It's exciting times," he said.

PersonnelPlus provides services such as job assessment - finding the right jobs and workers to suit its clients - in addition to job training and placement.

"When you walk into PersonnelPlus, it's not about disabilities," Mitchell said. "It's about opportunities, it's about employment."

According to Mitchell, there are currently 80 people currently placed in jobs around Athens County because of PersonnelPlus. The agency also provides some form of employment assistance to about 100 clients each month.

One of the ceremony's speakers was Dale Ellis, who was placed in his current job as a greeter at Texas Roadhouse through PersonnelPlus. Ellis, who wore his work uniform, thanked PersonnelPlus and Texas Roadhouse and offered motivational words to his audience.

"Like with anything in life, you're going to face challenges," Ellis said, adding that one must takes steps to work through those challenges to overcome them.

One of the audience members was Sylvia Fields, an Athens resident who spoke highly of the agency.

"They'll help anybody get a job," she said.

Fields found her job as a custodian at Walmart through PersonnelPlus in 2008. She also found her previous job as a custodian at the former Athens State Hospital, now the Ridges, with help from the agency.

Shawna Stump, a State Farm Insurance agent in Athens who has partnered with PersonnelPlus for 15 years, also spoke at the ceremony. Stump said she started by testing and training clients to see what skills they had and grew from there.

Stump took a moment to address any business owners and managers in the audience thinking about becoming an employer through PersonnelPlus.

"You do not lose in this process," she said, encouraging them to try working with the agency as an employer. "It's a way of helping good employers and employees find a good fit in our community."


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