As ADEC CEO and President Donna Belusar stood at the podium in front of a packed room, she held up a picture of more than a dozen ADEC Industries employees on a recent payday.

The 15 individuals, all with intellectual and developmental disabilities, each wear a big grin as they hold their paycheck high with pride.

Rather than addressing the crowd on behalf of ADEC, a nonprofit that serves more than 1,000 individuals with disabilities each year, Belusar was speaking on behalf of the 68 employees of ADEC Industries who value their job, their paycheck and their colleagues.

With the goal of creating a comprehensive plan for the future of services for Hoosiers with disabilities, the Indiana General Assembly has established a task force to gather input and explore what services should be added or discontinued.

The Task Force for Assessment of Services and Supports for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (or Task Force 1102, for short), led by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, has started touring the state to conduct listening sessions, and Belusar addressed the panel on June 27 at the Porter County Community Foundation in Valparaiso.

Because the future of sheltered workshops like ADEC Industries is uncertain (see this post for more background on that topic), Belusar asked the task force members to consider the voices of the employees of ADEC Industries.

Below are just a few of their comments:

Tobi Weirich, ADEC’s protective services and guardianship manager, also spoke to the task force on behalf of an individual she serves.

Lisa Mort, 41, is an employee at ADEC Industries. Lisa has dreams of eventually working in the hotel industry, but she has been spending time improving her job skills at ADEC Industries.

Lisa worked at a job in the community a few years ago, but was fired because she did not have the necessary attention to task. She worked with Vocational Rehabilitation, but was told she could not be placed in a community job because of her attention span.

If it weren’t for ADEC Industries, Lisa would be left without a job, without a paycheck and without a social network during the day.

Lisa said she wanted to share her story so state representatives understand that it is her personal choice to work at ADEC Industries.