State Recognizes Traverse City Partnership Employing People with Mental Disabilities

A Traverse City partnership is helping people with mental disabilities find work.

Right Brain Brewery hires some of its employees through the traverse house clubhouse to help out at their brewery in Traverse City.

Based on what this partnership has managed to accomplish, it’s getting statewide attention and making a big impact on a lot of lives.

“They were looking for somebody to come back and do maintenance again. I just happened to be looking for work and I just came and shook Russ’ hand. He said ‘You want to start?’” said Right Brain Brewery Employee Brian Sloan.

Now Brian Sloan’s been working at Right Brain Brewery for three years, starting with doing cleaning and working up to maintenance.

With diagnosed anxiety and depression, he says he wouldn’t have his job without a partnership between the brewery and the Traverse House Clubhouse.

“They’re trying to rehabilitate them so they can get back into society where some employers may not you know be as apt to accept them,” said Right Brain Brewery Production Manager Jeff House.

The brewery employs people the clubhouse refers who have fallen on hard times or just need to get their foot in the door and build a resume.

It is a program chartered by Northern Lakes Community Mental Health that’s been around for about eight years.

“We’ve had various employees throughout the year that definitely help keep the pub going and even the back of the house. They’ve been helpful with labeling bottles, you know sweeping around the pub, keeping our bathrooms clean.”

The State of Michigan gave the clubhouse and brewery a recognition award for the partnership’s success.

It is all about giving people a chance who may otherwise have none.

“We find the best person that will fit in where they’re at. Maybe a couple of hours a day, I think they’d be surprised what people can do if you give them a chance,” Sloan said.

Employees through the partnership work six to nine months, build their resumes and get experience before moving on to new opportunities.