State honor stems from hiring the disabled
For its impressive hiring of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, the California Disability Services Association has honored the Walmart Distribution Center in Porterville as its 2015 Excellence in Employment Employer of the Year.
Ron Killingsworth, director of business and marketing services for PSW (Promoting Self Worth), presented the award Thursday to Kent Delperdang, the distribution center’s general manager, and Guy Hughbanks, the operations manager.
Killingsworth said 27 businesses statewide were nominated for the annual award and the local distribution center rose to the top.
“It was a tough call,” Killingsworth said the selection.
Nominated by one of its local members, PSW, the Statewide Association held its annual meeting in Del Mar at the end of September, where the announcement was made. Killingsworth was on hand to accept the award on Walmart’s behalf.
“It was a great event and we are so proud that Kent Delperdang and all the Walmart DC staff get the recognition they so deserve,” said Killingsworth. “It has been a great relationship and we were honored to have the opportunity to nominate our partners in success, Walmart DC #6021.
“Back in April of 2002, Kent called to see if we could develop a new system within the WMDC to work alongside his employees and established integrated crews within the WMDC. We have been amazed at the way in which the WMDC staff has welcomed us into their team and view us as a vital part of their success,” said Killingsworth.
“WMDC, specifically Kent and his team, recently showed us an example of how they view our crews when one of our clients who worked there was tragically killed in an automobile accident. Kent arranged for a temp agency to come in and work for us to allow all of our teams to attend his funeral. We provide a valuable service to the WMDC but Kent Delperdang and his staff showed us they care more about the clients we serve than just what we can do for them,” he added.
The clients working with the WMDC are responsible for the supply of shipping boxes and the recycling program for the entire facility. They perform quality control checks on all boxes, sort them by size and ensure the electronic scanning system for labels on the boxes is functioning properly. This year the WMDC has added an additional responsibility for the crews, as they assist other WMDC employees with the unloading of trailers at the distribution center, assist the cardboard recycling program crew and help staff additional integrated weekend crews.
The center employs 27 PSW clients and has been employing clients from the workshop for about 20 years. Teena Ortiz-Vazquez with PSW said they have three crews who work at the center, one of just three Walmart Distribution Centers in California. The more than one million-square foot facility supplies more than 100 Walmart stores, including 10 in Hawaii.
“It’s a sustainability effort,” said Killingsworth. “They allow us to reuse boxes which saves us money and saves the environment,” added Delperdang.
The distribution center is one of just four full-time employment locations for the workshop. Most other jobs are part-time.
“Walmart has definitely been good for us. Kent’s been a champion for us for a long time,” said Killingsworth.
The California Disability Services Association (CDSA) is a trade association that works with agencies to promote the employment of persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities.