The OTC’s Janitorial Professionals: Keeping People Safe from the Coronavirus

By Lauren Goldner, Occupational Training Center of Burlington County 10/20/2020
Adapting to Increased Customer Demand and Safety Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With the world in crisis, it speaks volumes about the type of workers a company has when they are willing to put themselves on the frontlines in order to contribute to the greater good of their work community. The Occupational Training Center (OTC) of Burlington County (New Jersey) is among the long list of companies that has brave employees on the frontlines, facing COVID-19 day in and day out. Those employees are the Janitorial Professionals of the OTC, who are working to clean and disinfect various essential buildings throughout the state of New Jersey. Many of these employees are professionals with disabilities. 

Not only is the janitorial staff continuing to clean and disinfect their usual buildings such as police stations, a 911 call center, War Memorial Building (the site of the governor’s daily briefings), courthouses, a military installation and several other offices, but they have taken on new jobs as well. The staff now decontaminates two new sites per week, as well as completing any other requests as they are assigned. “People are heavily relying on us,” notes Debbie Gray, southern regional manager for the OTC, “and it’s tough, but we do what we have to do. In times like this, you need dedicated people who care, and we definitely have a whole lot of them at the OTC.”   

The state, federal and local government are all relying on these professionals with disabilities to keep them up and running on a daily basis. The Janitorial Professionals of the OTC are essential personnel in so many ways, and it should be shown that without them the entire region would be at a much greater risk of exposure. Every day, they show resilience against this virus and go to work helping the community in ways that many people would not.  

“We keep pressing through,” says Flora Maxwell, joint base manager for the OTC. “We take pride in being able to contribute during this time.” Some of the additional precautionary measures being taken by the OTC’s janitorial personnel include repeatedly disinfecting their fleet of vehicles and wearing face shields and face masks. “It’s continuous,” she says.  

This pandemic has shown the dedication and reliability of these dedicated employees. They have proven that they are essential workers through providing safe environments in the many buildings that they clean and disinfect. Not only do they show up to work, they do it with no complaints and expect nothing extra, they are all just happy to provide service to their community.   

As part of our NDEAM celebration, the nonprofit agency (NPA) community has taken over the SourceAmerica blog for the month of October! They may write about how this year has impacted their workforce, how they are celebrating NDEAM, and/or what the future looks like for professionals with disabilities. A special thank you to all of the NPAs who are taking part in this blog series.