PersonnelPlus, formerly Atco Job Placement Services, is celebrating more than 30 years of assisting Athens County businesses with their employment needs by capitalizing on the skills and abilities of workers with disabilities.
Founded in 1983 from a grant funded by the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission (ORSC), the program was launched to assist individuals with disabilities to identify their skills and then match them with employment needs of area businesses. The program provided an alternative to workers with disabilities who desired employment opportunities apart from a sheltered workshop environment. Even before the formal beginnings of an employment service, Atco operated the Athens Recycling Program in 1977 and cleaning services for Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Ohio in 1983. Over the years, special projects evolved that created more employment opportunities for workers with disabilities. These included Athens Curbside recycling in 1984 (which is now operated by the Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District), Pro Mow from 1985-1998, a lawn maintenance service, and Atco Janitorial Services from 1985-2007, a commercial janitorial service.
Today, PersonnelPlus has become a viable employment resource to area businesses. Josh Hilliard, Job Developer for PersonnelPlus, is quick to point out the benefits to area businesses by utilizing qualified and reliable workers with disabilities. Currently, there are approximately 70 individuals with disabilities who work in more than 50 businesses throughout Athens County. Businesses are realizing, more than ever, that hiring workers with disabilities makes good business sense. With the proper job match provided by PersonnelPlus, workers often stay at a place of business, providing quality workmanship for years.
In 2001, PersonnelPlus launched its new name and the “Partnerships In Employment” campaign. The concept is for PersonnelPlus to invest its time, staff and money into providing dependable entry-level employees, so that businesses can operate more efficiently. According to Director of PersonnelPlus, Douglas Mitchell, “Businesses are truly seeing PersonnelPlus as a viable employment service. Our partnership with area businesses represents a handshake rather than a handout,” Mitchell said. “In the early years of employment programs such as PersonnelPlus, we were often viewed as working with the ‘handicapped’ or ‘finding jobs for the less fortunate’. With ongoing public relations and education efforts, those types of views no longer prevail. Businesses are realizing that hiring a qualified and reliable worker, with a disability, who works hard, shows up to work when scheduled, and stays with the job, can save their businesses money.”