Building Stronger Communities: Coleman Professional Services Inc.

Having a job or a career can be central to a person’s self-confidence. Coleman Professional Services Inc., a nonprofit provider of behavioral health and rehabilitation programs, works to find jobs for those who may have more trouble finding a job than most — those who are mentally challenged or physically disabled.

CPS offers job placement, training and temporary work for those with barriers to employment while helping employers connect to this segment of the workforce through recruiting and outplacement. When successful, it means getting people off entitlements and helping them become more productive members of the community.

Smart Business spoke with CPS’s President and CEO Nelson W. Burns to learn more about the organization and the impact it has on those it serves.

SB: Where is CPS headquartered and what geographic areas does it serve?
NB: Coleman is headquartered in Kent, and serves individuals in seven Ohio counties that include Trumbull, Portage, Stark, Summit, Allen, Hardin and Auglaize.

SB: Whom in the community does CPS seek to help with its employment services?
NB: Coleman’s employment services are designed to serve any adult more than 17 years of age who has a disability.

SB: What services do you offer these individuals and what do you hope is the end result of their involvement?
NB: Our employment services work to support a final outcome of employment. However, Coleman might provide a wide variety of services to help facilitate employment. These services might include skill training, job experience, education support and employment aides such as clothes or transportation vouchers. Coleman operates businesses that actually hire people with disabilities. Coleman employs more than 80 people with disabilities in its Coleman Data Solutions business, a document management service.

SB: How would individuals with barriers to employment be affected if these CPS services suddenly vanished?
NB: These individuals with employment barriers would rarely be able to find employment or keep employment. Without employment, individuals with disabilities would remain on entitlement funds and less likely to contribute to their families and the community.

SB: What misconceptions does the organization spend much of its time overcoming?
NB: Many people think that people with disabilities are lazy or ignorant. The truth is that many of these individuals are very reliable and loyal employees.

SB: How do you quantify the benefits a community (business and social) experiences when these individuals are able to get jobs?
NB: The key benefits from employment are reduction of entitlements, active participation in the community without idle activities, proper model behavior for their families and more discretionary money to participate in the economy.

SB: What does it mean to someone who otherwise might have trouble getting a job to be employed?
NB: Employment is an important factor of our self-concept. With a job, people feel more confident about themselves and their contribution to the community. In a recent testimonial, a woman of 40 years of age commented to me how her unemployment resulted in deep depression and hospitalization. These conditions can lead to broken families, mental illness, addictive behavior and expensive health care.

SB: Other than funding, what is CPS’s most critical need?
NB: CPS continues to have challenges in helping people navigate through complicated systems of public aide, Medicaid and a complex system of governments and fellow nonprofit organizations.

SB: Why should a company consider employing individuals with the disposition(s) you serve?
NB: Companies can hire a reliable individual who will remain in employment. Our clients have a history of loyal and focused work experience. A company can win in business as well as helping a person and helping the community.

SB: How can companies get involved with CPS?
NB: Companies can call on CPS’s employment services for their special needs in their business.

How to reach: Coleman Professional Services, (800) 673-1347 or