By: Tom Fink | Category: Rogers County | Issue: June 2022
Ralph Richardson, CEO, Home of Hope
Few can dispute that we live in interesting times, and they’re particularly interesting if you’re an employer.
With the impact of COVID still being felt throughout the workforce, businesses and companies continue to struggle to employ and retain dependable staff members. As such, it can be challenging to find good employees – challenging, but not impossible.
Enter Home of Hope and Rogers County Training Center.
“Home of Hope, as a whole, works with more than 200 men and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and we’ve been doing this since 1968,” said Ralph Richardson, CEO, Home of Hope. “We’re in five counties throughout northeast Oklahoma: Rogers County, Craig County, Delaware County, Ottawa County and Mayes County, so we’re kind of all over (Oklahoma).”
Richardson said Home of Hope’s motto reflects the service that they provide in homes, neighborhoods, and communities within the five counties they serve.
“As far as jobs go, we have an incredible array of direct care jobs,” he said. “The people we employ for the residential jobs are called ‘direct support professionals’, and their jobs are sometimes one-on-one, sometimes it’s a small group of people living in the same house, but either way, it’s very personal, very engaged work. It’s about being involved in people’s lives.”
Home of Hope’s purpose is to help empower those with disabilities, to which end, it works with those facing intellectual or physical challenges to help employ them and to help them be as independent as possible.
“We work with people that need 24-hours-a-day care in their home settings, those who need help with the basics of looking after themselves, and we also work with people who are highly independent – those who have jobs outside of the home, who drive their own vehicles, etc.,” he said. “So we have an incredible range of people with whom we work, and the opportunities for them (as employees) are as diverse as they are.”
Richardson said Home of Hope is always accepting new workers, but it has some employees who have been with the company for 10, 20, and in some cases, even 30 years.
“Many of our employees don’t even think about doing anything else – they just enjoy being a part of people’s lives, and it’s been extremely gratifying for us to be able to change people’s lives,” he said. “That’s the residential side of it, but there’s also the vocational side, of which Rogers County Training Center is a big part, but we do also have other vocational settings and provide jobs and job training in all of the communities we’re in.”
Referred to as “job coaches,” employees in the vocational settings are trained to work as independently as they can, given their respective disabilities. Some work directly at Home of Hope while others work in the community.
“Our job coaches are providing something that many of our clients were told their whole lives they would never have – the opportunity to hold a job and earn a paycheck,” he said. “For them, as well as for us, that’s very rewarding.”
Whether the jobs are residential or vocational, Richardson said Home of Hope is “always hiring.”
“This is a place with great benefits, but also a place which is like a family,” he said. “The people here are a great support to one another, they’re here sharing a common sense of meaning and purpose, and we’ve really been blessed with an incredible staff of people. Those who work for us are here for a reason in that they have a passion for work, they love and care for the peoples in our programs. That creates a sense of connection...a sense of community.”
In Claremore, Home of Hope staff does contract work, such as building boat lifts for nearby HydroHoist, sorting hangers for an outside company, and several others.
“One of our key activities also involves recycling, whether it be cardboard, paper, textile or other forms (of recycling), and in fact, RCTC is a recycling drop-off for cardboard and paper products,” he said. “We also man the Metropolitan Environmental Trust (MET) location in Claremore, so people in the community have really gotten to know our clients.”
In addition to employing and providing employment, Home of Hope is always seeking businesses to partner with to help provide jobs for those with disabilities.
“One thing that’s happened in recent years, so many people who were at retirement age have stopped working,” he said. “Many people find that works for them, but others find that they really want to be doing something they care about. Maybe they don’t want to get back into the ‘rat race’, but want to do something they believe in. We’ve had a good number of people over the years who have come to Home of Hope in that context, just wanting to do something they love, and we’re able to give them those opportunities.”
To ask about or apply for employment at Home of Hope, visit their website at www.homeofhope.com, or simply text HOPE to 918-262-4440.
Any employers in the community who are interested in learning about hiring people with disabilities through our programs may contact Home of Hope’s Vocational Director Rick Davis at 918-810-6757.