Getting to Know our Members: CCRW
The St. John’s Board of Trade is a community of about 700 members, combining the collective power of industries, sectors, and diverse perspectives. In this series, we tap into that community spirit to share experiences, support each other, and celebrate success by asking business owners three questions.
This time, we asked Jeffrey Normore, e-Learning Specialist with CCRW, three questions to dig into what the business community needs to know and do to support meaningful and equitable employment of persons with disabilities.
Q: Tell us about your team and your business.
CCRW, a national not-for-profit organization, aims to bring together qualified candidates with disabilities and inclusive employers. We offer job search assistance, wage subsidy programs, and accommodation assessments. Additionally, we provide a range of services for employers, from recruitment to retention to future planning. Whether you are a job seeker with a disability, or an employer looking to hire or increase your disability confidence, CCRW will partner with you to meet your unique needs.
Q: What do you offer that can benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes?
This is a video that covers how we can help businesses in accommodating employees in their workplace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjSWFwBObfA
Our AIM service, Accommodation and Inclusion Management, delivers proactive and responsive interventions to improve the management and implementation of accommodations and workspace adjustments. AIM will help maximize accessibility and build a healthier and more inclusive workplace. We prepare businesses for the future of work, provide practical solutions designed for all environments, give access to an online playbook of proven tools, and support from CCRW expert accessibility consultants.
In addition, AIM may be able to assist with costs associated with managed accommodations. Coverage may include accessibility audits, expert consultants, workspace assessments, adaptive technology, interpreters, and accessibility implementation. To learn more about employer services, please email AIM@ccrw.org.
Locally in St. John’s we operate our Partners program and our Youth the Future program. Both programs support job seekers with all types of disability who wish to find meaningful employment. As well, each program supports employers to be inclusive and accommodating in the hiring and onboarding process of a new employee from our candidate pool. Our Partners program will source qualified candidates with disabilities for open positions that you have and will offer you the opportunity to complete our Disability Confidence Employer Program online training.
Our Youth the Future program is a pre-employment program that supports youth with disabilities in entering the workforce. This program seeks out employers who are hiring for entry level positions that do not require significant previous experience, but would like to hire youth who are trained for the workplace.
Q: Can you share some success stories?
We have countless stories of how we were able to support accommodation implementation for new employment matches!
For one client with a back injury who was working from home doing online tutoring with the Learning Disabilities Association, we were able to source ergonomic furniture for their home workspace to be able to work their shift comfortably without the need for more frequent breaks.
For another client, who has a rare eye condition (which has created a barrier for them in the workplace as it can be a safety concern), we were able to source adaptive technology called OrCam MyEye2. MyEye is a small device that attaches to glasses and verbally describes surroundings to the wearer. The device can learn to recognize faces, scan barcodes, read the written words and provide spatial direction so a visually impaired person can move through a room safely. Our hope is that this technology will be able to allow our client to grow within his company and to live life as independently as possible.
Q: Why should all businesses take the time to learn about and support meaningful and equitable employment of persons with disabilities?
Taking the time to learn about and support meaningful and equitable employment of persons with disabilities is a smart business decision for any business leader.
We believe in creating a change in mindset in how employers view disability in the workplace. We see it as a process that moves individuals from having unconscious bias and being reactionary to being creative, innovative, and intentional. Some business leaders may see the inclusion of people with disabilities as “more work” however of employees with disabilities aged 25 to 64, only 36% required at least one workplace accommodation to perform their job. However, within that same age group, persons with disabilities were less likely to be employed than those without disabilities.
Disability comes in a variety of different forms. While most employers can quickly identify and provide accommodations for persons with visible disabilities, other types of disabilities that are less apparent may not be as well understood or even recognized. This lack of awareness might lead you to dismiss opportunities to support your employees, just because they do not ‘appear’ to need accommodations. Without proper accommodations, employees can struggle at work – hindering their ability to reach their full potential and thwarting your business through lost productivity, absenteeism, and decreased morale.
However, if you are committed and informed, you can successfully address this issue. Rather than subscribing to dated understandings of what disability should look like (i.e., “I need to see it to believe it”), we challenge you to turn the corner. Broaden your understanding of disability and adopt an inclusive approach to employment. Actively seek out opportunities to gain knowledge. Remember, when you meet your employees’ needs with flexibility, individualization, and open-mindedness, you win too.