Nominated by Industries, Inc., a division of PHASE, Taco John’s in Cambridge was named an Outstanding Disability Employer by the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR) during National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October. The organization represents more than 100 disability service providers across the state.

Taco John’s has partnered with Industries for four years, both in hiring people with disabilities and in serving as a popular 10-day work assessment site, explains Industries Employment Services Manager Mary Barnes. Assessments give people the opportunity for job tryouts to help determine the type of work they’re interested in. 

The restaurant has hired four individuals with disabilities in the past four years, and two have been with the establishment for that entire time. 

Taco John’s General Manager Tanya Wallace said their roles are very important, providing the “face of the lobby.” Individuals from Industries stock the food and drink stations, clean and perform behind-the-scenes tasks.

Industries gives support to new hires and work assessments to make sure the individuals can complete tasks on their own and in a timely manner, Wallace explains. They are also on call to help when needed.

Barnes said Wallace takes the restaurant’s support a step further by attending her employees’ annual “team meetings” with Industries. Wallace provides updates on work progress and suggestions to help each individual to better succeed on the job.

Industries presented the award on behalf of MOHR at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 3 at Taco John’s, 225 2nd Ave. NE.

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