LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – An employee of Beaver Creek Candle Company is more productive than a machine and doesn’t let a disability slow him down.
Ron Welsh has worked at the Beaver Creek Candle Company for all 11 years that it has been in business in Lisbon. It was founded by the Columbiana County Board of Development Disabilities on Aug. 12, 2011, as a way to respond to the recession of 2008.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and those at CCBDD say workers with disabilities bring value to the workplace.
CCBDD Superintendent William A. Devon said he initially thought that the clients would have a hard time pouring the candles into the jars, but he was wrong. Devon had a machine that required a lot of maintenance. He soon realized that one of the employees — Welsh — was more productive.
“He could pour the candles by himself. He could pour the candles faster than the machine, with no clogging,” Devon said.
They got rid of the machine soon thereafter. Welsh challenged Devon to a competition to see who could pour it out faster. He told Devon that he could outpour him, and he did.
“He embarrassed me,” Devon said with a smile.
Welsh enjoys working for the community and making customers happy.
“It makes everybody smile,” Welsh said.
Ron’s favorite candle to make is root beer.
“It’s smooth, and it goes down easy,” Welsh said with a laugh.
The first step of the candle-making process is melting the wax. The CCBDD clients then scent and color the candle. They then pour the candles, label them, and package them.
CCBDD Assistant Superintendent Josh Martin said that he is inspired by the CCBDD clients every day.
“The individuals we serve inspire me every day because they’re a meaningful part of our community and in our society as a whole, and that includes a big part of our workforce. I think people overlook the value that people with disabilities bring to the workforce because they are dependable and willing to work,” Martin said.
Martin said that Ohio is an employment-first state, meaning that people with disabilities can still receive their benefits while keeping an income from working.
CCBDD serves about 850-900 people in Columbiana County with developmental disabilities. Martin said that about 400 of those individuals are involved in some sort of employment, whether in day programming, adult services or a community job setting.
Reach 4 More is CCBDD’s community outreach organization for employment. Reach 4 More has 14 scattered sites throughout Columbiana County that serve people with disabilities in sheltered workshop settings.
To learn more about Beaver Creek Candle Company and its products, visit its website.