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Finding community employment can be difficult. Having a barrier to employment such as a disability can add to the challenge. With the assurance and experience of Opportunities, Inc. staff members, the agency has been expanding employment opportunities for people with barriers through strong partnerships with area businesses and the state’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The support from these local employers has not only provided individuals with employment and training experiences, but also helps builds self-confidence and strength to experience life to its fullest potential.

Opportunities, Inc. would like to recognize four employers that have gone above and beyond in opening their doors and services by presenting them with the Employer Appreciation Recognition Award. The four recipients include: Mobil, Watertown; Fastenal, Madison; Paddy Coughlin’s Pub, Fort Atkinson; and Rock Lake Paint and Repair, Lake Mills. 

Mobil in Watertown has partnered with Opportunities, Inc. in providing an eight-week work experience to a young named Matt, which ultimately led to his successful hire! At the completion of Matt’s work skills training, store manager, Jon Lamp, was thrilled to add him to their team. Lamp noted, “It’s been eye opening. I wasn’t aware of the program prior, but Opportunities, Inc.’s training specialists have been terrific. Matt works very hard and it would be difficult to not have him.”

Jeff Diehl, general manager at Fastenal in Madison, describes the partnership with Opportunities, Inc. as “mutually beneficial.” He stated, “Working with Opportunities, Inc.’s School to Work Program works well for both parties. The students learn job responsibilities that are very valuable.” He also said, “I can’t imagine why most businesses don’t lend themselves to entry level tasks for students. Nate [program participant and recent new employee with Fastenal] is fun to be around, very energetic, and has a positive attitude. He has adapted to a professional workplace setting and is always willing to try new tasks.”  Adrian Mecum, accounts specialist at Fastenal, concurs with Diehl that partnering with Opportunities, Inc. has been a great benefit from an employer perspective.

Paddy Coughlin’s Pub in Fort Atkinson partnered with Opportunities, Inc. two years ago to provide a six-week work experience for Dean. After successfully completing the training, Dean was hired on! “Dean is a passionate worker and appreciates his job. He always wants to do the best that he can,” owner Erin Housley, noted. The partnership has been a great opportunity for both the area business and for Dean. “Getting involved with the community as much as we can is important to us here at Paddy’s,” Housley continued. 

Rock Lake Paint and Repair owner, Brian Olson, stated, “The partnership with Opportunities, Inc. has been nice and the staff is very helpful.” Olson hired Dalton on after a six-week work experience. Olson noted, “Dalton has changed a lot since I first met him a few months ago. His self-esteem has improved and he’ll ask what needs to be done. He’s not afraid to dig in the task at hand and get dirty.” With the partnership only a few months underway, Olson is very supportive of Opportunities, Inc.’s mission and of Dalton. 

Nearly 400 individuals with disabilities participate in integrated employment annually through Opportunities, Inc.’s youth and adult vocational programs. The support from the community and exemplary business partnerships contribute heavily to the programs success and the mission of Opportunities, Inc. Changing one individual’s life, one job at a time, will make a difference!


Jon Lamp, owner, Mobil of Watertown; Matt, employee of Mobil; and Amber Czech, employment training specialist, Opportunities, Inc.

Fastenal 7.24 

Jeff Diehl, general manager, Fastenal; Nate, employee; and Adrian Mecum, accounts specialist, Fastenal.

 Paddy Coughlin

Linda Harrison, employment training specialist, Opportunities, Inc.; Dean, employee, and restaurant owners Brandon and Erin Housley.

Rock Lake Paint 

Dalton, employee; Lori Turner, employment training specialist, Opportunities Inc; and Brian Olson, owner, Rock Lake Paint & Repair.