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ERI 30th Anniversary: Looking Back and Future Focused

In Featured, News by Beth Wroblewski

ERI has been celebrating our 30th Anniversary over the course of the past year. We opted for a year-long celebration since in-person gatherings haven’t been an option due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. It has certainly been a challenging year. As always, the ERI Team members, the Board, our partners, and the people with whom we work, have all been flexible, steadfast, and creative. Thanks to everyone for your contribution to ERI’s continued success!

Hopeful Beginnings

ERI started from the creative drive of a few visionary parents and their collaborative partners. They wanted a different future for their sons and daughters. This included goals for employment in the community and an opportunity to have the better health and financial status that being a worker brings to everyone. ERI is a leader in the benefits counseling arena, not only as a provider of high quality and individualized services, but also as a leader and trainer of other benefits counselors. ERI has also expanded services into Customized Employment and strives to develop the best employment for an individual while meeting employers’ needs for an effective workforce.

Leading Innovation and Awareness

We are also partners and leaders at the State and National level in designing and developing training and technical assistance which promotes best practices and assures improved employment outcomes for people with disabilities who face barriers to community employment. The ERI team is a valued partner in this area as well. We appreciate the confidence that our partners have placed in us.

Forward Focused

ERI, while celebrating our past, is looking ahead to the future. In November, we will move to a more community-based location at Cottage Grove and Acewood Avenues. We designed the space to be welcoming and supportive of job seekers and of our ERI Team. Alex’s painting will welcome everyone on their journey. We have team members statewide who are changing their communities by developing inclusive jobs and by promoting the importance of benefits counseling. We are striving to be a diverse and inclusive workplace and provider agency, promoting equity and opportunity for everyone.

With Gratitude

Thanks again, to each of you, for your contribution to and partnership with ERI. This has been valuable throughout the past 30 years. We look forward to more opportunities to thrive and celebrate in the future. Happy Anniversary ERI!

Celebrating with the Gift of Art

Photo of ERI's Lisa Horton, Beth Wroblewski, and Theresa Kulow pictured with Alex.
Pictured above: ERI's Lisa Horton, Beth Wroblewski, and Theresa Kulow pictured with Alex.

Our anniversary celebration has included a remote party, recognition of ERI’s excellent staff and the unveiling of a commissioned artwork by Alex Haunty. Alex shared that ERI was a part of his business planning when he decided to launch his own company as an independent artist and philanthropist. Alex titled his painting: “In this Together, Achieving Our Dreams.”

Explaining the title, Alex Haunty said, “I felt like the title really fit this painting and we are not alone. There are people to help us achieve our dreams.” Alex explained that the proceeds from his paintings supports people with disabilities to attend local art and theater events. He also said, “ERI helps people with disabilities achieve their life goals. Everyone has their own dreams. ERI helped me see that I could do painting as a business. Then I started to make it personal. Everyone is on different parts of their journey. The shooting star is part of the ERI logo and it (represents) everyone’s dream they are chasing. The yellow and blue are ERI colors.” Alex also noted that completing this commissioned work made his days meaningful throughout the pandemic.

More about Alex's art.