Culture of inclusion leads to business success

What does successful workplace inclusion for people with disabilities look like? An innovative program at Worldport, UPS’s main air sorting hub in Louisville, Kentucky, is game-changing, reframing disability inclusion not only as social responsibility but also as a means of meeting strategic business needs.

The UPS Transitional Learning Center (TLC) is a cooperative effort between UPS and the Coalition for Workforce Diversity (via Options Unlimited, Inc.) to allow people with disabilities – who are sourced through the Coalition – to experience UPS jobs through hands-on training. Another partner, the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, provided support for the Coalition for Workforce Diversity and the individual youths in the TLC. UPS Worldport and its Transitional Learning Center are playing an important role in advancing innovative solutions for connecting people with disabilities to meaningful employment.

Read the report on the LEAD Center’s website.

The National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities (LEAD) is a collaborative of disability, workforce and economic empowerment organizations led by National Disability Institute with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy

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WEBINAR: The business case for accessible technology

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) is hosting a free webinar at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 13.

Technology is one of the central drivers of productivity and success in today’s workplace, for all workers. But when the technology in your workplace is inaccessible to people with disabilities, it impedes employees from performing to their fullest potential. This webinar will address the basics of employer responsibilities and opportunities related to accessibility of websites, online systems, mobile applications, and other forms of information and communication technology.

Click here to register and see the panelists.

 

Local companies recognized as champions of opportunity

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities recently announced its 2016 Opportunity Awards winners, which recognizes and highlights Ohio companies committed to providing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Meijer was named a Champion of Opportunity for its work in the southwest Ohio region, where the company has face-to-face contact with potential applicants and gives them tours of their facilities. This helps to provide quality vocational guidance for every candidate.

Creating Opportunity Award winners in Greater Cincinnati include:

  • Brookdale, Mason
  • Hayneedle Distribution Center, Monroe
  • Koch Foods Inc, Fairfield
  • Krispy Kreme, Cincinnati
  • Kroger Market Place, Cincinnati
  • Mac’s Pizza and Pub, Maineville
  • Rodizio Grill, Liberty Township
  • Trade Global, West Chester
  • Xscape Theaters Northgate Mall, Cincinnati

These awards seek to recognize companies at various levels in the process: from those who have just begun to recruit, hire, and retain individuals with disabilities to those with a proven track record of integrating individuals with disabilities into their work force. See a full list on the OOD website.

New app makes skills-based match between employers and job seekers

Applying for a job can be nerve-wracking. Did I hit all the right keywords? Will my skills match what their looking for in this position? Does a real person even look at my résumé?

That’s where a new app called “Tilr” hopes to help. The Cincinnati startup offers an alternative to the traditional recruitment process by matching people to jobs purely on skills that are inserted into an app. Instead of hiring managers relying on keyword matches or titles reflecting previous experience from job seekers’ resumes, an algorithm helps match people to jobs based on the skills employers are looking for. Once a match happens, then the job seeker has an opportunity to accept or decline an available position.

Though originally conceived as a way to help veterans and caregivers re-enter the workforce, Tilr could also help people with disabilities find the right job. Read more in this article from The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Businesses share experiences, best practices and benefits of hiring people with disabilities

More than 40 people attended the Nov. 17 Workforce Solutions Summit to learn from businesses about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.

mary-stagaman-with-panel
Mary Stagaman talks to the audience about the importance of inclusive hiring.

“We want to bring more people with disabilities into gainful employment, and this has to be part of our strategy,” said Mary Stagaman, senior inclusion adviser for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “There are many barriers to employment but that does not mean unemployable.”

Stagaman, who provided the keynote speech, said people with disabilities have diverse experiences and businesses can benefit from this pool of talent.

Fifth Third Bank utilized Project Search, a business-led school-to-work transition program, to find employees with disabilities and expand hiring, said Program Manager Mitch Morgan.

He added employee engagement has improved by having people with disabilities on staff. For example, Morgan said, one year after Fifth Third hired two Project Search graduates, that department had a 30 percent increase in regular attendance at work.

“We pursued learning and best practices, and did our homework for what skills are needed and train people to do that job,” he said. “It took a long time to get to a point to justify the business case. You can have challenges with any employee, and it’s important to create a match for the position.”

Kings Island also adopts the practice of finding the right employee for each job, whether it is in food service, games, admissions or elsewhere. The amusement park has been hiring people with disabilities for years, setting special interview days and finding the best fit.

“They have an overwhelming pride in their work and love the job,” said Diann Shafer from Kings Island. “Our guests respond positively and enjoy seeing them around the park.”

Warren County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Kirby also has experienced benefits after hiring someone with a disability to help gather files for cases. “Her motivation and enthusiasm are contagious,” he said. Small adaptations for her, like using a cart to collect files or having an alphabet chart, have been adopted by other employees.

At ThyssenKrupp Bilstein in Butler County, they’ve hired 14 people with disabilities. “It’s a pool of untapped talent,” said Paul Meintel, who works with the company’s aftermarket group. “It’s a secret boon because they bring so much to the table,” he said.

Having discussions and hearing from other business leaders helps because familiarity starts to remove the idea of “other,” which Stagaman said is vital as Cincinnati’s businesses continue to grow and look for new workforce talent.

Matt Disher of Cintas and Lauren Todd of ViaQuest moderated the panel. The County Boards of Developmental Disabilities in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties partnered for this regional event at the Crowne Plaza in Blue Ash.

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Workforce Solutions Summit will connect businesses to employees with disabilities

The Boards of Developmental Disabilities from Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties will hold a Workforce Solutions Summit to promote the hiring of individuals with disabilities. The event is 8-9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Crowne Plaza Cincinnati, 5901 Pfeiffer Road in Blue Ash.

“Employees with disabilities are an untapped workforce,” said Keith Banner, Employment Services Coordinator from the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “People with disabilities deserve the chance to work in the community, and the chance to work alongside people who do not have a disability. Workers with disabilities can perform almost any type of job if just given the opportunity.”

At the Workforce Solutions Summit participants will learn how to successfully hire people with disabilities, and the types of services and supports available to help these individuals succeed in their jobs.

The keynote speaker is Mary Stagaman, senior inclusion advisor for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “Research shows employee retention rates go up when you hire people with disabilities,” said Stagaman. “Many businesses are not familiar with the resources available in the community to support both the hiring process and successful inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace.”

The event will be facilitated by Lauren Todd, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant for ViaQuest, Inc., and Matt Disher, talent acquisition leader for Cintas. A business panel of representatives from Fifth Third Bank, Kings Island, Pinebrook Retirement Community, ThyssenKrupp Bilstein, and the Warren County Probate and Juvenile Court will present and discuss their success stories in employing people with developmental disabilities.

Closing remarks will be made by Jordan Vogel, vice president for talent initiatives for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

The Workforce Solutions Summit is aimed at business owners, human resource professionals, and hiring managers. Attendance is free but limited to 100 participants. Advance registration is required, and a full buffet breakfast will be provided. Register online at Eventbrite.

 

The Boards of Developmental Disabilities from Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren Counties support more than 10,000 individuals with disabilities, and their families who live in those counties through Early Intervention, Adult Services, Employment, Residential, Therapy, and other support programs.

Upcoming events to build inclusive workplaces

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce is hosting a new event as part of their Diverse By Design initiative. It begins at noon on Monday, Sept. 26.

Topics include:

  • ROI of employing people with disabilities and veterans
  • Understanding employer tax incentives
  • Local business success stories
  • Workplace accomodation and fostering a culture of openness and comfort

Paul Daughtery, an award-winning sports journalist and author, is the keynote speaker. His book, “An Uncomplicated Life,” is about his daughter Jillian, who has Down syndrome. Jillian has been successfully employed in the community for years and wrote a guest post for our blog earlier this year.

Registration and details on the Chamber’s website.

Also, on Sept. 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in partnership with the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, is hosting a celebration to kick off National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

The celebration, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., highlights USDA’s new Disability Mentoring Model as a means to support increased employment and advancement of individuals with disabilities in the federal government and provides the framework for agencies and disability organizations to collaborate and share resources. Hear from top leaders about how the federal government is working to increase hiring, advancement, and retention of people with disabilities, and learn about a new multi-sector disability mentoring model.

#InclusionWorks: Mentoring to and through Employment is being held in Washington D.C., but can be watched live via the web. More information and registration details available online.