~ Beacon Workers Clean Up in the Town of Gilbert
Almost a year and a half ago, Beacon Group began a contract with the Town of Gilbert to provide workers for their Streets Department. Specifically, they would have responsibility for keeping seven parking lots clean and tidy. The lots are located in and around the busy downtown area. This popular destination features lots of shops, restaurants, coffee houses and a theater. Gilbert had anticipated the large crowds coming into downtown for lunch, dinner and on weekends, and provided a lot of additional parking.
A few months earlier Beacon had approached Gilbert staff with the idea of providing opportunities specifically for people with disabilities. This was part of a large effort by Beacon to establish more community work-sites in the Phoenix area. Gilbert was enthusiastic about the proposal, and agreed to contract with Beacon to provide this opportunity with their Streets Department. Previously city staff were diverted from their other duties to clean the lots. The new contract calls for Beacon to provide 2-3 workers and a Job Coach to be on site every morning from 6:00 to 9:00 am, including weekends.
The Beacon crew “makes the rounds” to each parking lot and picks up any trash they find. Deme Fernandez, who is the Field Supervisor for the Streets Dept. of Gilbert, says he is very pleased with the work, attitude and enthusiasm of the Beacon crew. “Sometimes they go beyond our property and keep cleaning areas around them!” He adds, “The Job Coaches have been very helpful and easy to talk to.”
Different Beacon team members work on different days, depending on their availability. One of the members receiving services from Beacon has been a real success story. He was doing such a good job, he is now a regular Beacon employee who covers the weekend shifts himself because these shifts are often harder for people receiving services to fill.
In addition to the parking lot crew, Beacon provides a crew and mobile pressure-washer for Gilbert’s Environmental Services Department. Every other week, they clean and power wash residential trash bins (up to 60 at a time). Beacon also has a landscaping crew that works at the Gilbert Youth Soccer Complex providing maintenance and grounds keeping for the 25 soccer fields during the spring and fall soccer seasons.
Melanie Dykstra, the Community Resources Program Supervisor for Gilbert, says, “When Gilbert learned of the Beacon Group and their mission, we actively sought opportunities to partner with them and have them work with us in Gilbert. It is important to Gilbert that we have a diverse workforce and allow for the growth and development of businesses that are providing work opportunities for different populations.”
Gilbert is a great example of civic leadership taking responsibility of helping even its most vulnerable residents. Beacon is working hard to be the kind of partner that towns and cities can work with to deliver important services while also providing important opportunities. Many of the workers on the Gilbert crews are Gilbert residents.
Beacon is already a qualified vendor on Arizona’s State Set-Aside Program to provide services. Besides Gilbert, Beacon has active community worksites with many other local, State and Federal entities, including Maricopa County, the City of Tucson, Arizona Dept. of Transportation, Fort Huachuca, the State of Arizona, Nogales Port of Entry, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, the IRS and many local, State and Federal court buildings.
We always welcome the chance to talk to potential employers about possible partnerships to help meet their goals and responsibilities to their communities.
Contact Jim Campbell at 520-622-4874 if you would like to learn more about community work-site services.