OTA earns Employer of the Year

Olympic Theatre Arts now has bragging rights for Employer of the Year.

The theater received the 2018 Employer of the Year Award from Morningside — a public benefit corporation and Community Rehabilitation Program that helps individuals with disabilities find employment in local communities.

Morningside representatives presented Olympic Theatre Arts (OTA) with the award on Dec. 19 at the theater.

The theater employs two Morningside clients, Howey Gorton and Nicholas Ward, who provide maintenance duties for the theater from cleaning the seating areas and restrooms to the office areas and more.

Morningside presents the award to an organization each year for promoting an inclusive and accommodating environment and making their clients an integral part of the organization’s operations and community.

“OTA really sees people’s abilities and what they can do and focuses on their strengths,” Jonathan Pleger, Morningside president and CEO, said. “It’s a very supportive environment.”

Gorton has been employed by OTA for about three years and Ward for six months. Both have a Morningside coach who help them improve their goals, learn a new task or practice a social component.

Their jobs at OTA require them to work two times a week for a few hours each week.

“It’s important to have a good working relationship with Morningside and the employer,” Pleger said.

OTA executive director Carol Willis said the theater is heavily used and needs to be attended to regularly.

“We’re very flattered and honored for something so reciprocal,” Willis said. “We’ve gained a lot from Morningside.”

Morningside serves clients with a variety of disabilities, Pleger said, and find employers who will be the right match for each individual.

The company has about 15 clients working in several businesses in the Sequim area and serve almost 1,100 clients total in five Washington counties.

The company is based out of Olympia but is headquartered in Port Angeles.

To learn more about Morningside, visit www.morningsideservices.com.

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