2 Firms Honored for Hiring the Disabled

The Mervyn's Department Store in Ventura and Paschen Management Corp. of Camarillo, operator of McDonald's restaurants throughout Ventura County, have been honored as leading employers of persons with developmental disabilities.

The two firms have four developmentally disabled employees each, according to Ann Contreras, program director of SEARCH, the supported employment program of the Assn. for Retarded Citizens-Ventura County.

Since the program was launched in 1976, the group has placed 15 workers with the Mervyn's store and a dozen with McDonald's, Contreras reported.

"A number of employers have worked with us, but these two have been outstanding," she said.

Others honored by the association this month include the Pizza Hut and Marshall's Department Store in Oxnard, the Target store, Carl's Jr. and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, and Pacific Beverage Co. in Camarillo and Simi Valley.

Also honored were the Vons supermarket, Arch Restaurant and Humane Society of Ventura County, all in Ojai; the Navy's NEMESIS program in Port Hueneme and, in Ventura, the Dialysis Center for Ventura County and Easter Seals of Ventura County.

"Because of the recession, some of our people have had their hours reduced lately," Contreras said. "Still, employers tell us the developmentally disabled make excellent, highly stable workers. They really appreciate having a job."

In all, the Assn. for Retarded Citizens, a private, nonprofit group, has placed more than 100 workers with Ventura County employers.

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