[Ed. note: The Uinta County Business Leadership Network was recently selected as the USBLNs affiliate of the month. Below is a Q&A with UCBLN director Wanda Rogers that appeared on usbln.com.]
Year that you were established:
The Evanston BLN was established in 1998 and the Bridger Valley BLN in 2000. In 2012, due to extreme budget cuts to the state-wide WBLN, we formed a local Board of Directors and renamed/reorganized our BLN to Uinta County BLN which is now the only remaining Wyoming BLN.
Lead employer (if you have one) and how they have assisted in your development how you are business-led?
There is no lead employer. Our Board of Directors provides leadership and business direction to the UCBLN Executive Director. They are a newly formed board and were established under difficult circumstances. However, they have dedicated their personal time and talents along with financial support to continue our work.
What outstanding services are you offering to employers to engage/serve them?
On a quarterly basis the steering committee identifies three businesses that are disability friendly. The Board and SC members present them with a decal to put in their front window identifying them as Disability Friendly Business. The newspaper takes pictures and puts the information in the local newspaper.
Quarterly trainings concerning employment of people with disabilities, ADA, Tax Incentives, etc. are offered to local businesses.
Employers provide site visits, mentoring, and trainings to youth with disabilities, which is a favorite of our businesses. They enjoy showcasing their businesses, providing valuable information and job shadowing for youth with disabilities.
If employers have job openings we connect the job descriptions to DVR and other agencies working with people with disabilities.
How are you funded/structured?
The BLN is funded by the Uinta County Tripartite Board, fundraising activities (The October National Disability Employment Awareness Month Awards Luncheon, The North Pole Carnival) and local and state sponsorships.
How you are staffed?
We have one staff person that works 30 hours a week and the steering committee members along with the board volunteer their time and expertise.
How has the USBLN been of assistance to you as a BLN?
The USBLN provides monthly affiliates trainings which is helpful in knowing what other affiliates are doing to promote employment of people with disabilities and building the network. The USBLN website provides valuable information.
Anything else of interest that you would like the USBLN businesses and family and affiliates to know:
To diversify our BLN we have a youth initiative called MentorABILITY. We contract with two school districts and receive funding from the Community Service Block Grant. We provided employment training and mentoring to youth with disabilities. This is an excellent way to engage the active participation of employers.