Pod Cast Listings
by Andy Rausch and Joe Reinecker
Human Resources Manager Susan Schulze of Parsons is a long-time SKIL employee. She started work for the agency on May 15, 1996. At that time SKIL had a slightly different name (SEKIL), was housed in a different building, and Schulze herself had a different last name.
Schulze, then Susan Wiseman, came to SKIL after graduating from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where she earned a degree in Sociology. At the time Schulze was hired to be a receptionist for one of the directors. She then moved to the Personnel Department, where she worked for a number of years. After that, she was asked to assume the role of HR Manager.
When asked what the duties of an HR manager is, Schulze jokes that she does “just about everything.” Her duties include tracking employee benefits, such as sick time and vacation time, as well as new hire orientations. “When new hires come onboard, we do the paperwork together and watch tutorial videos,” explains Schulze. “I also introduce them to the staff in our office.”
She also keeps track of employee information in a database so it can be easily accessed during an audit. Schulze also assists the Payroll Department with garnishments and child support orders. She also works closely with Independent Strides.
Schulze says her favorite part of the job is “getting to talk to people and finding out what they want to achieve with their positions within the company.”
During Schulze’s time at SKIL, she has seen the organization evolve in terms of its goals, scope, and size. (When she first started, SKIL was a tiny operation. At its peak, it employed approximately 170 people.) “When I was first hired, there was a lot more advocacy going on,” explains Schulze. “There was a lot of advocating for people with disabilities to our legislators, business leaders, and landlords. It was interesting to see how that advocacy worked. SKIL even advocated for me since I don’t drive. They advocated and worked with public transportation to get them to expand their hours so more people could use that service. That was a big eye-opener. Unfortunately, we don’t see that as much now.”
Schulze says it was interesting to watch the growth of the organization during her first fifteen years or so. Since that time, the organization has suffered some and has had to decrease in size due to massive budget cuts at the hands of the Sam Brownback administration.
“I pray a lot and ask God to help our agency and show us what direction the agency needs to go,” Schulze says. “I sincerely hope that whoever the next governor is, they will allow us to assist people with disabilities at the level we have in the past. Hopefully there won’t be as many cuts that affect people with disabilities who really need the services we provide.”
Schulze believes one of the better things that separates SKIL from other competing organizations is a sense of family. “Our CEO Shari Coatney likes SKIL to have more of a family atmosphere than a business atmosphere,” says Schulze. “We want our customers to come in and feel like they’re welcome here and that they’re part of a family.”
Schulze says when she was initially hired that she never would have imagined she’d still be here almost 22 years later. “One year turned into five years, and then five years turned into 10 and then 20,” says Schulze. “It’s like, ‘How did we get here?’” Schulze says she enjoys her work and appreciates the services SKIL provides for its customers. She says she can’t see the future and doesn’t know how long she will ultimately work for the agency, but she says she has no plans to leave in the foreseeable future.