Back to work for JobOne employees after cooling units replaced

GRANDVIEW, Mo. — Thieves left them working in the heat for about two weeks.
Now some developmentally disabled workers are getting relief.

Workers at JobOne have been enduring hot, stuffy conditions ever since thieves vandalized two industrial-sized air conditioners.  But new cooling units were installed at the nonprofit agency that provides employment for adults with disabilities.

The developmentally disabled do piece work as subcontractors; tasks that involved recycling, assembly and disassembly for local firms.

But when thieves gutted two big air conditioners looking for copper and platinum inside, fans were brought in because many of these workers wanted to continue to do their jobs.

The agency says the work means everything to their employees, giving them purpose in their lives.

The heat became unbearable late last week, and even though many of disabled need the money they earn here, they were sent home early.

And they’re not happy about what these criminals have done to them.

“It’s just laziness,” said Sharon Nichols, one of the workers who has endured the oppressive conditions. “They just didn’t want to work. They think it’s easier to steal than it is to work.”

Nichols and the others hope things can get back to normal with the installation of the new units, which cost $27,500.

The building is owned by Developmental Disabilities of Jackson County, a government agency. Insurance is covering most of the cost. But there’s still a high deductible that may prevent JobOne from doing other repairs or maintenance to the operation here.

Workers tell FOX 4 News they are overjoyed to have a cool environment to work in again. And they’re eager to try to make up some of the money they have lost in the last two weeks from not being able to work full days.

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