Goals and planning were the focus at Quadco Rehabilitation Center’s monthly board meeting, held March 26 in Stryker.
Executive Director Bruce Abell told board members roof repairs and machinery upgrades would be priorities in the coming years.
“Our facilities are aging, and like any structure they require regular maintenance and repair to ensure that they will continue to be safe and provide a good work environment for the individuals that we serve,” he said.
The roofing systems at the Stryker and Archbold facilities need attention and possible replacement in the next few years, Abell said. “We are going to have a few areas repaired this year to prolong the life of the systems until a time when we can budget the replacement of the systems,” he added.
He reported that a second automated cardboard pallet machine has been placed in operation at the Northwest Products facility in Archbold. Those in training watched a video highlighting the machinery in motion. Designed and built locally, and one of two machines of its kind in the world, the machine allows cardboard pallets to be built to precise dimensions to meet stringent specifications.
Abell said the original machine purchased three years ago will be upgraded with several design improvements developed since its construction. “(W)e have learned a few things in the past few years, and were able to incorporate those ideas into the new design, making it an even better machine,” he said.
In other business, the board discussed staffing ratios and transitioning the Northwest Products program into an integrated work setting. Abell told board members staffing patterns are closely monitored, ensuring that required staffing ratios are met but not exceeded to ensure effective labor cost management.
“As we are a private agency provider, receiving reimbursement for billable hours provided, it’s very important that we are not overstaffed,” he said. “This requires that we schedule staff based on program participant attendance, which is not always an easy task, given the wide variety of schedules we encounter.”
He said Quadco wants to hire more non-disabled workers at Northwest Products, creating a more integrated work environment for program participants.
“As the labor market permits, we’ll seek to add more individuals without disabilities to our labor force and give our folks a chance to work side-by-side with other members of the community. It’s a good opportunity for everyone involved to broaden their perspective and gain value from the variety aspects the change will present,” Abell said.
The integrated setting isn’t a new concept to Quadco, but a tight labor market in recent years has decreased the ratio significantly, he said. Quadco wants to focus on improving the ratio as a long-term goal.
Program Manager Shannon Zellers presented board members with examples of projects created by participants in Quadco’s art clubs. The artists were recently asked to create the center pieces and place mats for a dinner hosted by the Stryker Community Senior Center. Zellers said Community Club participants visited Rachel Michael Gourmet Popcorn, and took trips to the Henry County Humane Society to interact with the animals. Club members walk the dogs and socialize with them.
Rachel Lange, Quadco’s Northwest Employment Services manager, reported that Northwest Employment Services has seen an increase in participation, and is currently serving 33 individuals in job placement and retention services. Lange told board members that four individuals are involved in Career Exploration and received the opportunity to visit local farming operations, fast food retailers, and convenience stores to learn job duty requirements.
“Career Exploration gives folks a chance to gauge their level of interest,” she said. “We work hard to find the best fit for the referral, as a happy employee wants to go to work and is successful in their employment.”
Steven Slattman, transportation manager, said Quadco vehicles travelled 22,691 miles in 17 days during March. He said the Transportation Department’s 17 vans were found without citation during an inspection. An inspection of buses is scheduled for April 22.
No injuries were reported at the agency during March.
The next regular meeting of the non-profit board will be April 23 in the Stryker facility conference room.