CEBA Samaritan Institute Award: Bayaud Enterprises

In the thick of a downtrodden economy, we hear a lot about “putting people back to work” – a challenging undertaking to assume and achieve under traditional circumstances, overwhelmingly complex when referring to individuals with mental, physical and emotional conditions.

“People deserve the right to work, and if needed, can have access to a resource that can help them overcome their problems,” said David Henninger, executive director of Bayaud Enterprises. “If people are having a hard time focusing on the job search because they are worrying about where they will be sleeping at night,” then perhaps the missing ingredients are “hope, opportunity and choice,” which Bayaud seeks to provide.

The 2013 Samaritan Award winner has successfully served the Colorado community, providing support to find folks jobs for more than 40 years.

In 1969, Henninger worked across the street from the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan, one of two state-operated inpatient psychiatric hospitals. Henninger noted that once released, disabled patients frequently ended up homeless, hopeless and jobless.

Enter Bayaud Enterprises, originally Bayaud Industries, Henninger’s nonprofit designed to provide vocational assessment, training services and job placement to members of the community. Specifically, Bayaud has served more than 900 individuals within the last year, placing nearly 475 in competitive employment opportunities. In its history, Bayaud has helped more than 10,000 people find paid daily work.

“Bayaud’s main objective is to help people with mental barriers gain access to long-lasting and successful employment. They needed guidance to stay productive in order to not relapse,” Henninger said.

To support Bayaud, 108 full-time employees, 74 part-timers, 113 volunteers and more than 70 partnering organizations, including several commercial services owned and operated by Bayaud, ensure the success of the operation. Additionally, a sizeable chunk of donor dollars goes toward increasing resources and teaching clients practical skills they need to pursue new opportunities.

As we look deeper into the issue of unemployment, it is apparent that a high number of people currently without paid positions are made up of the disabled, as well as homeless population. Helping people secure employment can “change lives and establish independence,” says Henninger.