Michael Weber and Mary Flinker speak of creative expression with unwavering enthusiasm. Both are very talented artists, sharing their perspective through words, visions, ink and paint.

Mary Flinker and Michael Weber are gallery security officers at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center; and are Cincinnati artists. LADD, a Cincinnati nonprofit organization that strengthens the lives of adults with developmental disabilities, has a Supported Employment Program that has been working with CAC.They are also both independent professionals and role models, who in addition to doing their own art at Visionaries and Voices (Mike also works at Raymond Thundersky Inc., a Cincinnati art studio), work as gallery security officers at the Contemporary Arts Center in downtown Cincinnati. Mike is celebrating his 12th anniversary at CAC this summer, and Mary joined the CAC team a few years after Mike did.

What do they enjoy most about their jobs?

“I like meeting new people, and the people I work with everyday are fun,” said Mike.

“I work on writing movies and stories and art, a lot. Working here gives me a lot of inspiration for my work!” said Mary.

LADD’s Supported Employment Creates Workplace Inclusion

At LADD, our Supported Employment Program assists adults with disabilities in choosing, obtaining and maintaining employment in a variety of community settings like the Contemporary Arts Center. Working in partnership with businesses across the Greater Cincinnati area, our staff help job seekers in finding employment, providing on-the-job training and, if necessary, providing follow-up services.

Our belief is that every person who wishes to work in the community is given that opportunity and support to do so; and our goal is for people with disabilities to gain meaningful, long-term employment.

In 2012, it was LADD’s great pleasure to honor the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center with our Employer’s Excellence Award. “That Mikel and Mary, respectively, enjoy their work at the Center depicts their involvement and commitment to the work they do there. It also speaks to the support and appreciation shown them by the staff and patrons of the Center,” said Diane Gaither-Thompson, program manager of LADD’s Supported Employment Program.

The LADD Supported Employment Program has long served both Mary and Michael by providing them support and guidance in their employment experience. “It is amazing to be a part of their journey with CAC who maximizes their talents and abilities while supporting them in their professional growth and development. They both enjoy their work and the team of professionals they work with.  

Dave Gearding, CAC facility director, is Mike and Mary’s supervisor. We asked him what strengths he sees in them as members of his team. “They are both valuable members of our team here,” he said. “They are dedicated to their work and have a lot of pride in what they do. They show up on time with a positive attitude. I feel that they contribute not only in their daily job functions but also in the way in which they interact with our guests and our staff, as they are in really ambassadors to our city through their interaction with people.”

“We appreciate the proactive partnering with CAC. Dave sets a standard of reasonableness for all. He works with Mike and Mary with the same expectations he sets for others, and they meet his expectations. LADD’s Supported Employment expects accountability and adherence to employer policies as well,” Diane added.

To other employers, Dave had this to say, “Everyone, including people with disabilities, want to get in the game and contribute. We as employers need to step up to the plate and give them that opportunity because we have seen that our employees are real assets.”

For more information on LADD’s Supported Employment Program, please call 513-861-5233.

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