By Jason DeRusha

ANOKA, Minn. (WCCO) — Most of us take for granted that we’re physically and mentally able of getting a job. But four out of five people with disabilities don’t take part in the workforce.

A local nonprofit is trying to change that, with the help of some very large local businesses.

There’s nothing all that unusual about the workers packaging and assembling on the floor at Pentair in Anoka. But Dave Farrow and Tiresha Hughes are among 60 people with different disabilities working for Rise.

“I like this job because I like it here, and I work so hard,” said Hughes, who lives in a group home and gets transportation to commute to work every day through Rise.

Dennis Spiess, director of operations at Pentair, says the company has worked with Rise since the 1970s because they know it takes a team.

“They do great work. They’re here every day, they’re reliable, very intuitive,” said Spiess. “”The best thing is they’re dedicated workers, as dedicated as any of our full-time workers.”

The jobs give workers a sense of purpose and meaning, plus the dignity that comes with hard work.  The benefits, it turns out, are mutual between businesses and workers.

“It’s very important to have a job to come to work every day, to use their skills and abilities,” said Spiess. “They’re part of the Pentair family.”

Rise employs 1,400 people at companies around the state.

Rise is having its awards and fundraising gala this Thursday night in downtown Minneapolis, and WCCO is proud to be supporting that effort.

Reporter Jason DeRusha has emceed their events for the past ten years. He’ll do it again this Thursday. For more information, check this link.

Jason DeRusha