Month: October 2017

Genesis Development Joins Broad Effort to Observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Genesis Development announced today its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

“Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation.”

Reflecting this year’s theme, Genesis Development has always worked toward inclusion and innovation in the work force across central Iowa. The Employment Services department began in Jefferson in 1985 and now has ten locations serving eleven counties across central Iowa. Genesis Development Employment Services are currently serving 171 individuals with disabilities working jobs in communities across the service area in Iowa. In addition, Genesis Development is serving 70 high school students with disabilities in the Experienced Based Career Exploration (EBCE) program, the Genesis Vocational Program and the Making the Grade program in cooperation with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services at high schools across the state.

Zac Anthony started with one of Genesis Development’s job development programs and wanted to pursue his dream job. Anthony wanted a career at Simpson College. He was even offered a job at another company, but turned it down to hold out for his dream job. When a job opened with the food service agency at Simpson College, Anthony was ecstatic and filled out an application. He began work with Sodexo in August 2015. Anthony is very happy with his dream job and enjoys that the staff and students at Simpson College are “his people.”

Chris Strader started with Genesis Development’s Experienced Based Career Exploration program while enrolled at Storm Lake High School. He entered Genesis Development’s  job development program after graduation when his position at a local company was eliminated. Strader desired to find a job that fit his skills set, that he enjoyed and that fit his needs. Strader was hired by Silk Screen, Inc. this past August. He is surrounded by people with similar interests in a friendly environment. Strader enjoys his job preparing printing shipments and makes sure that items are shipped in a timely manner.

James Allen started with Genesis Development’s Making the Grade program when he was a student at Winterset High School. After graduation, he began in Genesis’ job development program in May of 2016. Allen utilized his learned skills and began as a courtesy staff with Hy-Vee in July of 2016.  During a visit from a secret shopper, Allen had earned high marks for his customer service and helpful smile. Allen enjoys his work and desires to move up in the company.

Joel Anderson started with Genesis Development’s EBCE program when he was a junior at Boone High School. After graduation, Anderson entered Genesis’ Job Development program and utilized his learned skills and began work at the Dutch Oven Bakery in Boone in January of 2016. When Anderson started the job, he wanted to make sure that he was doing a good job and asked many questions and took notes.  Now he goes into work and swiftly performs that job he is comfortable with and enjoys.

“Genesis Development is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month and a part of the communities we serve across central Iowa,” said Terry Johnson, CEO. “We want to spread the important message that we value all perspectives, including those of individuals with disabilities.”

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting To learn more about Genesis Development, please visit

Fundraising Corner: Are Your Affairs in Order?

Are Your Affairs in Order?

How important is having control of where your money goes after you’re no longer on this earth? Are there causes that are important to you that you want to include in your estate planning?   Making decisions now about what you want to do with the assets you have  accumulated during your lifetime will allow you to provide for your loved ones and leave the legacy of your choice. Maybe you have the basics covered, but more than a will is usually needed to fully protect your loved ones and your wishes. You may want to consider taking these steps to ensure peace of mind for yourself and financial support for your family and your favorite causes.

Review and update your will or living trust every three to five years or after big life changes like marriage, death, divorce, birth, adoption, or moving to another state. Both tax law changes and life changes can have an effect on your existing estate plan.

Choose an executor or trustee for your estate and name a power of attorney to handle your affairs should you be unable to do so.

Create a living will to guarantee that your wishes are known regarding extraordinary measures for keeping you alive.

Evaluate your insurance program regularly to assure that it meets your changing needs.

Be aware of what your investments are doing. Your finances can determine your future. Consider taking advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion which for 2017 is $14,000 if single or $28,000 if filing jointly to each person you wish to gift. These gifts are nontaxable.

Make a gift to your favorite charity or cause. Great tax benefits exist for those who give to a qualified charitable organization, such as Genesis Development.

There are many charitable donation  options available to you that would not only benefit Genesis and the people served by Genesis, but can also provide a substantial tax benefit for you. A gift to Genesis would enable you to help us unleash the potential in a great many people and change their lives in ways that they’ve only dreamed of.

Seriously consider investing in the mission of Genesis Development, the people with disabilities that we serve, and the future of this organization.

In addition to cash donations, Genesis is prepared to accept gifts of property, securities, life insurance, excess retirement funds, and vehicles.

New Website and Marketing Tools

The Development Team has been working on some new tools to help ease the flow of information about Genesis Development and its programs.

The first project was the redesign of the company  website. In early 2017, Genesis partnered with Rippke Designs, a small web developer in Ames, IA. The task was to easily convey the complex information that makes up Genesis Development and do so in an eye catching, appealing and professional way.

After some focus groups, design meetings and coding, the new site was ready to have all of the content added and went live in the first part of August. The new website is available at

While the website was under construction, Genesis also  partnered with Morgan Park Studios, a video production company in Madrid, IA, to create a promotional video for Genesis and the many programs that are offered. After a couple days of shooting member activities and interviews and a couple of months of editing, Genesis received a new promotional video. This video can be seen on the homepage of Genesis’ new website or on the Facebook page.

Genesis Continues to Look Toward the Future with Changes to Facility-Based Work Centers

Genesis Development started in 1973 as the Greene County Sheltered Workshop with a building at the Greene County Fairgrounds. Forty-four years later, Genesis has thirteen sites across central Iowa and is serving over 3000 individuals with disabilities and helping them to integrate into their community.

With more and more individuals living, working, volunteering and recreating in their communities, Genesis has continued to look toward the future and made some big changes in facility-based work centers. Genesis has had four major work centers across central  Iowa. These are the recycling center in Boone, promotional printing and can redemption in Storm Lake, Custom Boxes Online and recycling center in Jefferson and Genesis Development Textiles in Indianola.

In the past, these work centers were used as a training ground for members as they learned work skills and trained for community employment. Now, due to the success of our Employment Services programs and other federal initiatives (like Employment First), fewer and fewer people are working in these facility-based programs. The lack of individuals to work led to Storm Lake’s can redemption closing over a year ago and Boone’s recycling center closing earlier this year.

This past summer, the Board of Directors of Genesis Development decided to continue with the forward progress and close the promotional printing work center in Storm Lake. Custom Boxes Online in Jefferson and Genesis Development Textiles in Indianola will remain open and will be re-evaluated next year.

Genesis Development continues to move forward by integrating our members into their communities. The closing of these facility-based programs is a positive because it means that more of our members are in community-based work and that is what Genesis is always striving towards.