Still keeping manufacturers up at night is the search for talent; especially workers with specialized skills. This need has driven companies to look outside the regular channels for workers.
One organization that is helping to fill that gap is Ability Beyond. Ability Beyond is a leading non-profit agency offering residential, job training and placement, career counseling, cognitive and life skills instruction, clinical and therapeutic support, and volunteer and recreational services for adults with disabilities. Headquartered in Bethel, CT and Chappaqua, NY, the organization serves more than 3,000 families annually at 140 residences and facilities in 90 communities throughout Connecticut and New York.
While many companies have not looked in this direction before, talent with disabilities have a wide range of education, degrees, professional certifications, work experience and skills.
“Just as many people without disabilities find a good fit working in the manufacturing sector, we too have found it an ideal setting for people who are looking for repetitive, consistent, creative work,” said Carrie O’Connell-Davidson, Director of Services at Ability Beyond. “When our individuals see how the work they do helps to create a larger product or project it gives them the satisfaction that their work is valuable and needed to achieve larger goals that impact the customer.”
Specialized Talent Helping Bottom Line
One company that has found success in working with Ability Beyond is Tier ONE Machining in Newtown, Conn. The company requires skilled, focused workers to provide precision machining and manufacturing, packaging and assembly solutions for function critical, highly engineered parts and assemblies. They hired Aimee Giordano to assemble tip kits. She has quickly become of one of their star performers, motivated to exceed her goals. Her ability to concentrate allows her to produce a consistent, cost-effective product every time.
Another company has also found success. ABB Optical Group in Hawthorne, NY has been an employer partner with Ability Beyond for less than a year but has already grown from employing one person to a dozen after successfully hiring Brendan Loughran. Brendan graduated from Fairfield University in CT with a Bachelor’s degree in History. Employment Specialist Michelle Magaletti at Ability Beyond helped Brendan fulfill his goal of doing stock work in a warehouse setting as a fulfillment specialist.
"Working with Ability Beyond has been a great experience,” said Marlin Rodriguez, talent acquisition specialist at ABB Optical Group. “Not only do they offer onsite supports to their clients, but their candidates are amazing people willing to go the extra mile to do the best job possible.”
New Talent Measures Up
On a national level, Ability Beyond has successfully partnered with PepsiCo on their inclusive hiring initiative Pepsi ACT (Achieving Change Together). After experiencing the positive impact of that program, Ability Beyond launched an employment consulting service called Disability Solutions. The experienced consultants work with companies of all sizes to develop a strategic, customized playbook to tap into new channels for qualified talent, navigate complex hiring systems, support culture change, leverage hiring incentives, and respond to a changing regulatory environment.
Companies such as American Express, Aon, Aramark, Synchrony, and others that are taking action in reaching talent with disabilities are recognizing measurable and meaningful business outcomes. Hiring people with disabilities is not about charity, but about smart business.
“We have moved the needle on key HR benchmarks across our client base including an average 14 percent higher retention rate, 53 percent higher rate of self-identification, decreased time to fill key positions, and a range of diversity within disability including 21 percent veterans with disabilities,” said Kris Foss, Managing Director of Disability Solutions.
Elizabeth Bresnan leads in the Marketing & Communications department at Ability Beyond.