Nine years ago, Lisa Mort didn’t just lose her job — she lost her lifeline.

When the recession hit Elkhart County in 2009, hundreds of people found themselves without work for the first time. For many, this experience changed their lives and shook them to their core.

For Lisa, being out of work caused her to isolate herself. She spent the hours alone during the day getting lost inside her head, letting her imagination run away and losing touch with reality.

Lisa’s job not only kept her busy and provided her a paycheck, but it gave her a space to connect with other people and the world. It made her feel like she was contributing to the world.

Like many, once the economy rebounded, Lisa attempted to go back to work. She approached Vocational Rehabilitation with the hopes of finding a housekeeping job; however, they discovered she was not ready for that line of work.

She was disappointed to learn she did not have the ability to focus on tasks to be successful. A job in the community at that time was simply beyond her reach.

But Lisa found possibility at ADEC Industries.

ADEC Industries provides a space where individuals who require a little more patience and a little more time to do tasks can find work. It is a workplace designed to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities boost their job skills.

Today, at ADEC Industries, Lisa earns a regular paycheck. But beyond the paycheck, Lisa also has built a strong social network as her co-workers turned into friends (and a boyfriend).

Each week, Lisa helps perform packaging and assembly work for a variety of industrial customers across the country. Her production rate has steadily increased since she started in October 2016, which means more money to buy things she wants — like an elephant ear at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair or her very own cell phone (so she can talk to her friends and maybe her boyfriend, too).

As Lisa’s pay has increased, so has her confidence in her abilities as an employee. In June, Lisa started the process once more to find a job in the community.

“ADEC Industries has helped me be a better worker,” Lisa said.

Stories like these fill the halls at ADEC Industries. Within its brick walls, you will find individuals who simply want to work. These individuals may take extra time in learning a task and require extra patience when learning a new job, but their desire to contribute to our world cannot be outdone. The joy they find in having co-workers and collecting a check for their work is essential to their wellbeing.

Unfortunately, the future of ADEC Industries is at risk. States across the country are phasing out sheltered workshops like ADEC Industries, and Indiana will soon consider making the same decision. Until then, Lisa and her friends at ADEC Industries will continue to clock in and put in a full day’s work.

“It is my choice to be here, and I want other people to have that choice,” Lisa said.

Who Knew?

Who knew the future of ADEC Industries would someday be at risk? Many states are phasing out programs like these, and Indiana will soon consider the same decision. Until then, Lisa and her friends will continue to clock in and put in a full day’s work.