Two Decades Serving People with Severe Disabilities

Grindell is a custodial supervisor and has worked with Goodwill Omaha’s AbilityOne program for over 18 years. He’s stayed because, in his words, “I love what I do and the people I work with. … It’s a job like no other.”

The AbilityOne program provides part-time job opportunities for individuals with severe disabilities. Goodwill Omaha’s AbilityOne jobs include custodial and postal services for Goodwill Omaha’s federal government partners. The program gives people a chance to try out a work environment in an accommodating setting. The AbilityOne employees have plenty of questions, and it’s Grindell’s responsibility to answer them.

“It’s a very good environment,” Grindell said. “It gives them a sense of direction.”

The participants often don’t know what to expect at first, but trainers and supervisors like Grindell specialize in accommodating the participants’ needs. Everyone in the program has different disabilities, both mental and physical, but they are all treated the same.

Besides his career with Goodwill, Grindell has been a barber for 24 years and recently became the owner of a barbershop. But he has no plans to leave AbilityOne. Grindell said that working with AbilityOne employees has helped him grow personally, teaching him how to interact with people with severe disabilities and the importance of treating everyone with respect.

He looks forward to seeing the AbilityOne employees every day. “These employees bring so much to the table that you couldn’t even imagine.”