OKARCHE, Okla. — Nortek Air Solutions (NAS) recently took its partnership with Center of Family Love (CFL) a step further and began hiring the charity’s intellectually and physically disabled adults to work at its Okarche, Oklahoma, commercial HVAC air handler manufacturing plant.

The initial group of four CFL residents was trained on-site at NAS for one month last April to learn light fixture and wiring installation for 4 x 4-inch-square electrical boxes. The assemblies are eventually incorporated into the Temtrol branded air handlers the facility manufacturers. The group arrives at NAS accompanied by a CFL job coach for two eight-hour shifts weekly. They’re already completing 150 light fixture/box assemblies per week.

“This program has far exceeded our expectations,” said Paul Bohnenkamp, NAS’ manufacturing/operations director, who is already planning other assembly work for the group to tackle.

“These are meaningful tasks resulting in an end product that is not only useful for the employer, but also something the resident is proud to show,” said Marsha Smith, vice president–programs, CFL, who matched the residents’ skills to the NAS’ job description. “Meaningful work is therapeutic development that improves motor function, cognitive functions, and social skills.”  

The CFL workers, who range in age from 38 to 51-years-old, were chosen for their work records at Filters for Life (FFL), Kingfisher, Oklahoma, which is a job opportunity the 40-year-old CFL owns and manages for its 55-participant Vocational Program.  

Bohnenkamp conceived of the recent employment opportunity during one of NAS’ periodic CFL community service days created under its “Nortek Gives” program. The CFL Vocational Program quickly accepted Bohnenkamp’s invitation. NAS provides a paycheck to CFL’s residents.

“I’m so proud of our NAS Okarche Team and the CFL; our partnership has created bonds that will not be broken,” said Buddy Doll, president, NAS. “As manufacturers in Okarche, we must give back to the communities where we live and work. This is a beautiful relationship.”

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