‘Hearts of Glass’ Documentary Highlights Disabled Workforce at Vertical Harvest


Washougal, WA — Awareness of the needs for competitive employment opportunities for young adults with disabilities is the topic of an upcoming webinar, June 9 from 4-5 pm.  It will feature members of the cast and crew of the award-winning documentary Hearts of Glass and local participants with experience surrounding local jobs for individuals with disabilities.

Hearts of Glass is a 2018 film which follows the initial months of operation of Vertical Harvest, a state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse that grows crops while providing meaningful, competitively paid jobs for people with disabilities working alongside people without disabilities. 

Thanks to a Camas-Washougal Community Chest grant, Washougal, Camas and Hockinson School District patrons, the movie is available for on-demand viewing access through June 12, 2021.  This is the first viewing promoted in Washington State. To sign up for viewing go to https://watch.showandtell.film/watch/washougal-hearts-of-glass or the WSD website.

“Our hope is that people will come away from viewing the movie and hearing the panel discussion on June 9 with a greater awareness surrounding employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities,” said Jessica Nickels, Washougal Adult Transition Program Teacher.  “We hope to spark conversation around innovative ways to increase opportunities in our own communities for these individuals.”

“This film shows that innovation and inclusion can go hand-in-hand, benefiting citizens with disabilities and the community at large,” explained filmmaker Jennifer Tennican.

“Our goal is for the film and webinar to provide a platform to advocate for greater inclusion of individuals of differing abilities into all aspects of our community,” explained Heather Kassel, WSD ELA/EdTech Instructional Coach. “The discussion around the film is meant to serve as a catalyst for change and the creation of new partnerships between local businesses and the school district.”

Panelists are:


Columbia Ridge Senior Living Executive Director

Emily is from Molalla, OR and has been at Columbia Ridge as Executive Director for the last three years. She values community connections and has made increased community involvement for the center a goal for her tenure as director. Because of the tangible benefits that she has experienced with interns from the Washougal Adult Transition Program, she has actively customized employment opportunities for employees with disabilities.


Adult Transition Program Participant

Shelbi is a 2016 graduate of Washougal High School and a 2019 graduate of the Washougal Adult Transition Program (WATP). As a WATP participant, she interned at Columbia Ridge Assisted Living and Metropolitan Dance Academy in Vancouver.  Her employability strengths include: punctuality, resourcefulness, and attention to detail. She lives in Washougal with her immediate family and enjoys texting and hanging out with her friends.


Director & Producer of Hearts of Glass

Jennifer began her documentary career in the late 1990s working on NOVA science programs for WGBH with independent producers in the Boston area. Since moving to Wyoming in 2002, she has focused on local stories. Her films explore identity, inclusion and community, and although they are rooted in Jackson Hole, they resonate far beyond the mountain west. Jennifer’s award-winning work, including “Hearts of Glass,” “The Stagecoach Bar: An American Crossroads” and “Far Afield: A Conservation Love Story,” has been featured in numerous film festivals and seen on PBS. Currently, “Hearts of Glas”s is the centerpiece of an impact campaign to improve employment and inclusion outcomes for people with disabilities. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys rock climbing with her husband.


Senior Farm Associate, Vertical Harvest Farms

Having arrived as a toddler in the “Equality State” from Chicago in the spring of 1993, Johnny is almost a Wyoming native. He graduated in 2015 from the University of Wyoming with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Johnny has been an employee at Vertical Harvest since it opened in the spring of 2016. His professional skill sets at the greenhouse include: seeding, harvesting, delivering produce and guiding tours. He is passionate about human rights and social justice. In his free time, Johnny enjoys listening to music, going to movies, studying pop culture and travelling with his family.


Packaging Manager, Vertical Harvest Farms

Andrea, or Dre as she prefers to be called, grew up in Driggs, Idaho — just over Teton Pass from Jackson, Wyoming. She learned about Vertical Harvest from her brother and sister-in-law, who are closely involved with the greenhouse. Since joining Vertical Harvest in 2016, Dre has worked in many different positions. She started as a volunteer and worked her way up to tomato associate, job support and finally packaging manager. Dre’s favorite part of her job is interacting with coworkers and creative problem solving. In her free time, she likes to watch scary movies, play guitar, go on long drives and hang out with her friends. 

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