An Untapped Labor Pool – The Benefits of Diversity in The Workplace

In today’s highly competitive business environment, companies are working harder to maintain profit margins while creating high standards and developing new strategies for growth. A workforce rich in diversity and varied backgrounds is often better equipped to create viable and creative solutions to the business challenges of a global market.

Diversity refers to variances among ethnicity, gender, age, and religion, including individuals’ attributes and experiences. One out of five people in America has a disability, making them the nation’s largest “minority.” The group represents all ages, genders, ethnicities and socioeconomic levels. Integrating people with disabilities in your business and the workforce can create a competitive advantage.

Businesses that employ individuals with disabilities appreciate their diverse experiences and perspectives, adding value to the workplace. Recruiting qualified people with disabilities brings benefits far beyond filling a job opening, including low turnover, reduced training and recruitment costs, and a loyal and committed workforce. A 2007 DePaul University study noted low absenteeism rates and long tenures for workers with disabilities; participating employers described their employees as “loyal, reliable, and hardworking.” This untapped labor pool can offer a source of skilled employees while contributing to lower business expenses.

In most cases, hiring people with disabilities is no different than hiring any other job candidate.  All new hires need to become familiar with an organization’s management style and workplace culture. Working with agencies serving people with disabilities brings the added benefit of comprehensive training and guidance to ensure success for employer, employee and new team members.

Ability Matters is a free resource guide created by PRIDE Industries for businesses interested in learning more about employing people with disabilities. The booklet was compiled with input from business leaders to help companies gain the competitive edge by achieving diversity in the workplace.

Ability Matters was developed by PRIDE Industries in collaboration with the following organizations; The ARC of California, ALTA California Regional Center, Work Training Center, Inc., California Disability Services Association, Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, and Unisource Worldwide, Inc. The guide addresses topics ranging from business advantages to recruitment and hiring, as well as support services, tax incentives, and realistic workplace accommodations.

To download your free copy of Ability Matters, click here.

Independence Day

Today on Independence Day, we celebrate the independence, freedom, and liberties that were hard-won 241 years ago.

Currently, there is much discussion about what constitutes independence and inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. PRIDE Industries’ programs and services promote independence and self-reliance for all individuals with disabilities, including developmental, intellectual, physical, sensory, mental illness and more. Since 1966, our mission, to create jobs for people with disabilities, has expanded opportunities for those most often excluded from employment.

Through our more than 50-year history, PRIDE Industries has proven that employment is essential to an individual’s sense of purpose, dignity, and inclusion. For many individuals, independence and inclusion are achieved through employment, choice and increased self-sufficiency.

From all of us at PRIDE Industries, happy Independence Day.

 

On This Day

 

“Each of the patriots whom we remember on this day was first a beloved son or daughter, a brother or sister, or a spouse, friend, and neighbor.” — George H. W. Bush

 

On Memorial Day, join PRIDE Industries in remembering the women and men who sacrificed their freedom for our own and who faced danger for our safety. Together, we honor them.

To learn 25 Interesting Things About Memorial Day, click here.

From all of us at PRIDE, happy Memorial Day!

National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month, an opportunity to create awareness and encourage individuals to get involved in the lives of these youth – through mentorship, employment, volunteering and other ways.

Growing up always presents a unique set of challenges, especially when making the transition to adulthood. For the more than 400,000 youths in the U.S. foster care system, the following obstacles can seem insurmountable, such as getting that first job, a driver’s license and learning money management skills without a good support network.

PRIDE Industries is proud to help young adults in, and emancipating from the foster care system develop independence and self-sufficiency skills. PRIDE’s Youth Services and Internship Programs provide support and guidance to teens, connecting them to internships and jobs in the community while helping them overcome other obstacles to employment. This success is made possible by generous donations to PRIDE Industries Foundation.

Nellie’s Story:

Nellie is a participant in PRIDE Industries Youth Services and Internship Program. With PRIDE’s help, Nellie has successfully held a job, and has made many positive changes despite the great challenges she faced. She graciously shared her story with us.

Growing up in a dysfunctional family, Nellie lacked support and positive role models. This environment led her to engage in an unhealthy lifestyle; as a young teen, she got involved with gangs and drugs. To help turn her life around, she was admitted to a group home specializing in rehabilitation in the Sacramento, CA region, at the age of 14.

Despite her efforts to maintain sobriety and get her life back on track, Nellie’s attempts failed, twice. “Even though it was a different location, it was the same story,” says Nellie. “I got involved with the wrong crowd and drugs, again. Both times, I just wasn’t ready to change.”

“I never thought I would ever finish high school, let alone make it to age 16.”

Fortunately, Nellie connected with Koinonia Home for Teens, a highly structured group home that provides clinical treatment to chemically dependent youth ages 13-18. Often, Koinonia is the last hope for teens. The group home ended up being just what she needed; at age 15, Nellie made significant strides toward a brighter future. “Having the proper structure and discipline at Koinonia helped me change habits and start living a healthier and positive life,” says Nellie.

It was at Koinonia where Nellie connected with PRIDE Industries. PRIDE’s Youth Services job developers act as mentors to teens in the recovery program. Job developers help youth bridge skills from adolescence to adulthood.

Recovery happens in phases at Koinonia. During phase two, teens are allowed to seek community employment. Nellie’s commitment to her recovery and good standing in the program, gained her a recommendation to PRIDE’s Youth Internship program, in 2016.

The internship placement proved to be successful, Nellie currently works alongside colleagues with disabilities on PRIDE’s contract manufacturing and fulfillment division, packaging items for customers such as packing tea and toys. “I’m proud of my accomplishments at my job,” says Nellie. “This has taught me patience and teamwork, and I have learned skills needed for my future.” As a result of excellent work ethic, Nellie was able to extend the duration her internship.

The transformation has also been beneficial in other parts of Nellie’s life. Once far behind in school, she is now a high school junior who enjoys studying English and is set to graduate early. Nellie also credits sports with helping her stay on a positive track. Her favorites are football, soccer, and basketball – sports where she can apply the teamwork skills learned on the job.

“Nellie has made remarkable progress, and I am proud of how far she has come,” says Kenneth Avila, a Youth Services Job Developer. “She has learned a lot about how to communicate and positively connect with others.”

Nellie is a smart and strong young woman. Once she graduates from high school, she plans on exploring different career options, including the marketing field. For now, we are proud to have her as an intern at PRIDE and look forward to seeing her future accomplishments.

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month, which highlights the challenges, conditions and recent research surrounding this developmental disability. More than 3.5 million Americans live with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Autism encompasses a distinct group of complex developmental disabilities. Symptoms can range from   very mild to severe, including difficulty with social behavior, communication deficits, fixated interests, and/or repetitive behavior.

Fast Facts

  • Approximately 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 for boys, and 1 in 189 for girls) is diagnosed with ASD in the United States.
  • A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism
  • ASD affects children of all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
  • ASD can be reliably diagnosed by age 2.

For more information on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), click here.

More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. Thirty-five percent of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or gone on to secondary education. Studies have shown that steady employment can help ease symptoms and improve functioning in daily living. Individuals with ASC can often make excellent employees due to their careful attention to detail and quality of work. They just need to be given the opportunity.

At PRIDE Industries, we are committed to making the adult years of individuals with disabilities as independent and fulfilling as possible – by providing an opportunity for something that many take for granted, the chance to be employed. Learn more about our People Services, click here.

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

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Developmental disabilities can cause challenges in physical movement, learning, language and behavior. These disabilities are often diagnosed in early development and typically impact day-to-day activities and last throughout a person’s lifetime.


Who Is Affected

Developmental disabilities are found among all ages, genders, ethnicities and socioeconomic levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States about 15 percent of children between the ages of 3 – 17 years old have one or more developmental disabilities. Developmental disabilities include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, fragile x syndrome, hearing loss and intellectual disability. For information and resources, click here.


Living with a Developmental Disability

Individuals with developmental disabilities lead full active lives. Access to support services aid in the success and self-sufficiency of persons with disabilities. For more than 50 years, PRIDE Industries has created opportunities for those often excluded from the labor force – people with disabilities. Instead of disability – we see unique abilities.

Through assessments, career planning, training, placement, on-the-job support, follow-up, and case management provided by PRIDE, individuals with disabilities become contributing community members. More than 3,200 individuals with developmental, and other disabilities work at PRIDE. More than 500 individuals with disabilities have also been placed in community employment.


Help Others

We can all play a role in helping individuals with developmental and other disabilities join the workforce. Through employment, people with disabilities gain a sense of purpose, dignity, inclusion, and lead more self-sufficient lives.

How can you help? Consider ways in which opportunities can be created in your business or organization. Not sure how? Contact us. We’d be happy to help! Send an email to: info@prideindustries.com.


With Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving message card with pumpkins over yellow leaves

In this time of gratitude and thanks giving, we give thanks to you:

To our customers, friends and supporters who help create opportunity for more than 3,300 people with disabilities, employed at and supported by PRIDE Industries, thank you. We value your support and appreciate your confidence in us, and for this we are especially grateful.

To our business and community partners who employ and help individuals with a wide range of disabilities transition to the workforce, thank you. Every paycheck delivers dignity, self-respect, and the pride of inclusion to those most often excluded from employment.

To the counselors, trainers, recruiters, job coaches, job developers, and countless community resources who pave the path to employment, thank you. Your dedication and talents make life-changing difference to others.

Lastly, but not least, to our employees. Your passion, dedication, and grit have helped PRIDE Industries be the renowned social enterprise it is. When we think about the things we appreciate, we think of you and our work with you on the creation of jobs for people with disabilities. Thank you.

 

From all of us at PRIDE Industries – we wish you a Thanksgiving filled with abundance and bright moments.

Inclusion Works: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The month-long celebration is themed “Inclusion Works” and places a spotlight on the contributions made by workers with disabilities and educates the public on the value of a diverse workforce.

For 50 years, PRIDE Industries has created jobs for people with disabilities while championing inclusion and a diverse workforce. At PRIDE, we know that inclusion does work and has transformed its mission into countless daily success stories.

Often, with accommodations at work, whether to their workspace, schedule or with the help of assistive technologies, many individuals with disabilities can become or remain gainfully employed. In most cases, hiring people with disabilities is no different than hiring any other job candidate.

By partnering with PRIDE Industries, businesses can leverage its person-centered services including assessments, job skills development, training, placement, transportation, and on-going support to ensure long-term employment success. PRIDE places people in its own business lines and provides support to more than 500 individuals annually in community-based opportunities.

Following are a few examples of individuals with disabilities who found employment success with a little help from PRIDE:

Melissa
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Making positive change is never easy, but with support and guidance, Melissa’s life transformed and she is now living a life she never thought possible.

More about Melissa’s journey, click here.

 
 

Alice
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“To me, we all have a disability; the only difference is you can physically see mine.”

Through PRIDE’s job coaching services, Alice is celebrating 17 years of working in the community. For more on Alice’s story, click here.

 
 

Derek
pride-industries-_-d-ramsey-_-los-angeles-afbAs a retired veteran, Derek struggled with applying his former skill-set to the civilian workforce.

Through PRIDE Derek found a new career while continuing to serve his military family. More on Derek’s journey, click here.

 
 

Dani
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Job hunting is a difficult process. For a young, first-time job seeker with disabilities, the process can be even more daunting.

Through participation in PRIDE programs and services, Dani is on her way to the future she imagined, “Now I feel like I am becoming more of the adult I want to be.”

For more on Dani’s journey, click here.

 
 


Are you interested in hiring employees with disabilities in your business? Speak to our expert staff by contacting us at info@prideindustries.com.


 

Choose Your Path with PRIDE

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For 50 years PRIDE Industries has been creating jobs for people with disabilities. However, those jobs are not always within PRIDE. Last year, PRIDE’s dedicated employment services team prepared, placed and supported 533 people with disabilities who work in the community either directly for employers, or as part of a supported employment group.  In fact, PRIDE is the largest service provider creating community employment in the state of California.

Creating Community Employment Success

Whether people with disabilities find work within PRIDE or in the community, our job skills training and supports are at the center of their success. When people with disabilities come to PRIDE, they may have worked in the community unsuccessfully, or they may not have every worked.

We begin with a personal assessment to determine what their current skill level is and understand what they believe they would like to do. It’s not quite as simple as filling in the gap between skill and aspiration, however.

Sometimes, people have difficulty envisioning their potential until they start taking small steps toward it. They may have had a negative experience working in the community, or they may not have had any experience at all. So we have to overcome negative perceptions and help people to understand what opportunities do exist. We go to work helping to educate, build hard and soft work skills, and to help people navigate workplace relationships, employer expectation, and even transportation.

But training without opportunity means disappointment in the end. That is why our job developers are working hard every day to build an expansive employer network. These are community employers who understand that the same qualities that help a person rise above their disability are the most sought after in the workplace: resilience, determination, and persistence in pursuit of a goal. We have more than 180 community employers in our network today – and the numbers keep growing.

When people are ready, they can move to community employment in a couple of different ways. They can go directly to work for an employer. We call this ‘individual placement.’ PRIDE finds the employment opportunity, places the individual in the right job, and then ensures that both the employer and their new employee receive the training they need to be successful together.

The other path benefits individuals who are ready to work in the community, but need more support. It is called ‘supported employment.’ Groups of three individuals with disabilities are supported by a job coach who works side-by-side with them to ensure that they continue to receive the training, assistance and mentoring needed to achieve their goals.

With a staff of 14 job developers closely connected to their communities and job coaches who prepare and support employees, PRIDE Industries’ community placement results defy national trends and continue to grow.

Whether an individual with a disability finds fulfillment working with PRIDE, or wants to pursue employment with a community employer, our focus is on skills development, preparation and placement according to their unique needs and dreams.

Community employment is an essential component of our mission to create jobs for people with disabilities. For more information on PRIDE’s person – centered services visit: prideindustries.com/people/people-services/individual-supported-community-employment.

 

Make a difference for individuals with disabilities:

  • Recognize and support businesses that employ individuals with disabilities.
  • Contact PRIDE Industries at info@prideindustries.com to learn how your business can employ individuals with disabilities.

Together we can change lives…one job at a time.

 

Labor Day 2016: Contributions by All

USA flag in a sunset, labor day

Labor Day is a holiday that celebrates the social and economic accomplishments of all workers.  For 50 years, PRIDE Industries has been creating jobs for those most often excluded from employment; people with disabilities. Through our mission, we serve people with a broad range of disabilities – developmental, intellectual, physical, sensory, mental illness and more.

Our goal is to provide an opportunity to all who want to work and can contribute. Through PRIDE’s business enterprises and by partnering with others in the community, individuals with disabilities become contributing members of the community.

At PRIDE, we know that disability does not mean inability and that through employment people with disabilities gain a sense of purpose, dignity, inclusion, and lead more self-sufficient lives.

Together, we can pave the way for a Labor Day, that celebrates the contributions of all American workers – those with and without disabilities.

Happy Labor Day to all.