We love our students. They always have and always will be a great asset to ACR Homes. They bring a high level of passion and care to our residents each and every day. We in turn help them because we can provide some of that entry-level clinical and patient experience that gives them a strong start in their health care careers.
But for other employees, ACR Homes isn’t just a stepping stone to a larger career goal in medicine. They discover early on that this is it: ACR is the place they want to spend their career. That also makes ACR a special place to work.
Our long-term employees become vested in the mission and philosophy of ACR Homes, which stands for Acceptance, Communication and Respect. Because they built their lives around making a house into a home for our residents, they become standard-bearers and mentors to everyone else, from students to new employees searching for a career path.
Let’s meet a few of them and hear their stories.
The best place to be a nurse
Many of our long-term employees are health care providers. They’re registered nurses and managers who discovered early in their careers that ACR gives them everything they could want in a career: A way to make a profound difference in people’s lives. A place that prioritizes excellence in health care. And a family-like atmosphere.
For Lucy Brandt, ACR did start out as a stepping stone. She figured her student job as a direct care professional would give her the valuable experience for her future nursing career. But when people noticed she had a knack for communicating with the residents, her eyes were opened. She could build a meaningful career here.
Today, nearly seven years later, she works full-time at a Twin Cities hospital, while maintaining her employment status at ACR. Because when it comes to her long-term plan for her life, this is where she wants to be.
Learn more in From part-time to full-time: Why ACR is a way of life.
From direct care to community engagement
Mandi, our community engagement coordinator, started at ACR Homes as a direct care provider while she was a U of M student, majoring in psychology. She was hooked from the start, which is why she’s been a fixture since 2013.
“We all just had such a cool bond that it was just so fun coming to work,” she says. “It was more like visiting friends and caring for family than actual work!”
Her role is all about making ACR a top-notch place to work, as she oversees the Mentorship Program, Tuition Assistance Program as well as the community event planning. She makes ACR a great workplace, and a great place to live!
Finding the power of making a difference
Deb Nygaard began her career at ACR as a direct care provider. What clicked for her was the fact that she had the power to provide a person with disabilities the happiest, healthiest life possible. Even though some aspects of the job can be difficult and heartbreaking, she says having the ability to make a difference even in a sad situation makes it worthwhile.
She’s grown and flourished at ACR, donning many hats over the years: live-in supervisor, human resources, staff training, all the way to director of development. After 30 years, she has no intention of retiring.
Read Deb’s heartwarming story in “Not a day goes by I’m not filled with gratitude.”
Finding a meaningful career as a direct care professional
ACR also is honored to have a number of long-term staff throughout the company who have provided consistent direct care to the people they support for over a decade.
Tim Harriger started as a direct care professional in 1996 when he graduated from college. It didn’t take long for him to realize that he found his fit. Today, he’s the guy who makes sure residents are on track with their routines, but also trying new things. He’s always ready and willing to give a demo to new employees. With his years of experience, it’s hard to find a situation that’s new territory for him and he always knows just how to respond!
As much as he enjoys being a leader, the meaning of his work is in constant renewal.
The residents, for one, are an important part of his life. Every day, he feels what he means to them as well as their families. He takes them to doctor appointments and accompanies them on their travels to visit far-away family. The relationships and his ability to help people in important ways have been both changing and fulfilling for Tim.
Read more about Tim Harriger, Full-Time Direct Care Staff of the Year.
Discover why ACR is a workplace of choice
At ACR, we’ve built a reputation among pre-health majors as a great place to gain early experience. But as a workplace, we’re so much more than a stepping stone. With our mission and work with people with disabilities, ACR Homes is also a great place to land for anyone looking for meaningful work!