Reflections on disability employment
SourceAmerica® is celebrating National Disability Employment Month! As part of this recognition, we are shining a spotlight on the nonprofit agencies in the SourceAmerica network and the people with disabilities they employ.
New Mexico-based Tresco, Inc. has seen the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the employment of people with disabilities throughout the past year. Despite these challenges, Tresco has continued to grow programs for these individuals and raise awareness on the importance of employing this segment of the population. Tresco CEO Chris Boston, and Luis Rios, Director of the Tresco Works program, spoke with SourceAmerica about the importance of NDEAM and the future of disability employment.
Why is National Disability Employment Awareness Month important to Tresco?
Luis Rios: National Disability Employment Awareness Month gives us the opportunity to inform the general public about the importance of employing people with disabilities. These talented individuals can do a variety of jobs, but many people don’t recognize that. For example, at Tresco we have an individual that is deaf and had a real hard time finding a job. We were able to bring him in and quickly identify him as a future manager, and those are the opportunities other people should have. NDEAM brings those stories to light.
What are some of the biggest successes you have seen this year?
Chris Boston: Even though our recruitment has been a challenge over the last year due to the pandemic, we have experienced tremendous growth. Through the state, we have doubled our contracts. We have also done a better job this year in educating the community about people with disabilities, and even what NDEAM stands for. We recently held a business breakfast where I had the opportunity to speak with small business owners about employing people with disabilities. We really focused on their abilities and featured the skilled work that people with disabilities do for Tresco customers. I think our community is now recognizing the opportunity to make local businesses thrive by employing this segment of the population.
What are some of the top reasons companies should consider employing people with disabilities?
Luis Rios: People with disabilities are extremely loyal. They are persistent and they have a wide array of skills to offer. Companies shouldn’t be worried about accommodations and supporting people in work environments. The truth is, whether a person is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or not, many of us require some sort of accommodation or support to be successful in the workplace.
What is something that business leaders should consider as they look ahead?
Chris Boston: As a society, we must get over our preconceived notion that if someone has a clinical diagnosis for a disability they can’t work. They may learn a little differently, but it’s up to all of us as business leaders to figure out how to connect with them and provide the right training.
How has your workforce supported essential operations over the past year?
Chris Boston: While many businesses were forced to shut down, our team ramped up. People with disabilities were there to support commercial, state, and federal operations. We took all the precautions we could and went through lots of PPE. We also took advantage of SourceAmerica grants and were actually able to grow our business lines. We started specializing in deep disinfection and giving opportunities for upward mobility in that field.
To learn more about how your organization can employ talented people with disabilities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.