Columbia Industries is Helping Community Members Overcome Barriers

KENNEWICK, WA-

The mission of Columbia Industries states they are "[...] committed to supporting and empowering individuals with disabilities and other challenges in order to help them achieve personal success and community engagement."

They help people get jobs and are able to connect them to resources that can help them with other needs like housing, childcare, or transportation.

Justin Crume is the Director of Mission Services at Columbia Industries, and he says he wants to focus on developing the "whole person."

"They can be in recovery, they can be coming out of incarceration possibly and trying to get stabilized, they might be survivors of domestic violence situations, they might be experiencing homelessness. It could be any number of significant challenges," said Crume. 

They have an entire employment division that helps people with getting jobs.

"Their job primarily is to work with the individual, assess their skills one-on-one, and help them individually to find a job in the community," said Crume.

David Haldeman is an Employment Consultant at Columbia Industries. In March, he started working with his client, Isaac Mumper, who wanted to overcome some barriers with meeting new people before finding a job he enjoyed.

"We worked diligently on taking and overcoming that barrier by going around the office, introducing ourselves," said Haldeman. "So we ended up filling out an application to Round Table and the manger wanted to do an interview with him and we practiced those interview skills and Isaac got the job the day that he went there."

Isaac got the job only two weeks after coming to Columbia Industries. He's worked at Round Table Pizza for a few months now and his manager says he's a "rockstar."

"I'm able to go out and meet new people and talk to new people," said Mumper. 

The pandemic didn't stop Columbia Industries from continuing to connect people with resources to be successful. Now they're doing it virtually.

"We discovered we can connect with them virtually, like we are able to facetime. Some were able to do zoom. For some that's a struggle so we are doing it over the phone. And in some cases we are able to sanitize a tablet and deliver it to them," said Crume. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, their caseload has tripled, and Justin says they are still finding people jobs.

To learn more about Columbia Industries, visit columbiaindustries.com

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