Former schoolteacher earns state level award for helping to employ people with disabilities
Employment specialist Sheri Murphy with TSE, Inc. recognized by Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation for work in Employment Service
Sheri Murphy, an employment specialist with TSE, Inc., based in St. Paul, was named for a Direct Support Professional (DSP) Award by the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR). The honor for “Employment Service” recognizes individuals for exemplary work, skills, impact and the “creation and
implementation of innovative and proactive services.”
Murphy created the “Prime Time” program at TSE, which offers people with disabilities the opportunity to see different types of employment through tours in a variety of industries. With a teaching background, Murphy is adept at preparing participants, easing their anxiety and helping them to interact, according to Jim Freeman, employment services director at TSE. More than 90 percent of those who have graduated from the program have gained employment.
The award was presented at the MOHR Summer Conference in St. Cloud. MOHR services more than 100 adult day, day training and habilitation, extended employment, and supported employment service providers across the state.
After taking behind the scenes tours of businesses in five different industries, Murphy takes people through an evaluation process before diving into a curriculum to work on skills identification and discussions about what makes a good employee. “They’re just getting to know what their strengths are, and how they can turn their weaknesses into strengths,” she said.
While maintaining high expectations for individuals, Murphy said she’s found there are many ways to achieve them. Part of this involves encouraging people to think of themselves in a positive way, rather than adopting the labels that have been placed on them, she explains. There’s a big emphasis on making choices, helping people to think about it more, because participants must make up their own minds about possible careers, according to Murphy.
“I go about my business every day and I get my joy from seeing them succeed,” she said. “I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about what other people are thinking about what I’m doing. I was given parameters, and was able to just create it on my own, which was very fulfilling for me.”
MOHR members serve more than 26,000 Minnesotans with disabilities. Members are committed to respect for each individual, a person-centered approach and expanding work opportunities. More information is available at mohrmn.org, on Facebook and on Twitter.