More and more employers are opening their doors for people with disabilities and the Reno area is no exception. Three months ago, Hodell-Natco collaborated with United Cerebral Palsy of Nevada’s (UCPNV) employment program to recruit and hire five people with disabilities. The local wholesale distributor of fasteners and chains prides itself on having a diverse and talented workforce.
“In today’s society, employers see a person’s disability before evaluating their potential and talent,” said Brandon Liebhard, General Manager of Hodell-Natco located in Sparks, Nevada. “At our company, we pride ourselves on evaluating an individual’s talent and potential within our company before anything else.”
Before entering the workforce, UCPNV provided training to the employees at the organization’s thrift store in Sparks. The employees learned and practiced important skills such as following directions, working with a team, knowing when to ask questions, and overcoming personal barriers. These individuals are now expanding upon those skills – assembling and packing fasteners in the Packaging Department of Hodell-Natco’s Sparks warehouse.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, ‘Leading Practices on Disability Inclusion,’ hiring people with disabilities is good for the bottom-line. The report includes case studies from companies such as PepsiCo and AT&T, all citing benefits of hiring people with disabilities. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities has constantly hovered at or above 70 percent, even decades after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unfortunately, employers often refuse to hire individuals with disabilities, simply because of the belief that they are not capable of doing the job, or because they are unaware of the many adaptive techniques and devices that are available today.
Seeing Potential and Valuing Integrity
Hodell-Natco is aware of the research that verifies the organizational benefits of hiring people with disabilities. Some of these benefits include employee retention and performance, workplace diversity and organizational culture. Two studies, one from the Department of Labor Statistics and another from DuPont company concluded that workers with disabilities had a significantly higher performance in the area of safety than their counterparts without disabilities. In other words, employees with disabilities are more aware and conscientious of safety in the workplace. Both studies looked at different types of jobs, including labor, operational, managerial, clerical, and service areas. In addition, eligible businesses can receive certain tax credits to aid them in hiring and accommodating workers with disabilities. Many of these credits are awarded for expenses incurred in things like purchasing adaptive equipment for workers with disabilities, or covering the costs of any modifications needed to make the building accessible.
“We take pride in the honesty and good moral character of our teammates,” remarked Liebhard. Hodell-Natco is no small fish, with reach throughout North America and distribution centers in six states. While most business executives would attribute their success to revenues versus expenses, the leadership at Hodell-Natco will credit its success to its diverse and talented workforce.
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