October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and 2020 marks two big anniversaries: 30 years for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and 75 years of NDEAM itself. Throughout this month, Wildwood has been sharing stories and information about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Wildwood's Employment Team helps potential workers connect with area businesses to find the "right talent right now." A video was created to help with outreach, and share why it's important for a business to shift their perspective on what it means to hire someone with a disability. The hope was that the employment video would be the catalyst to that shift, and result in long-term workforce benefits within the community.The video reached over 6,000 views, was shared twice nationally as well as through statewide and local business groups, and reached hundreds of nonprofit leaders, Chambers of Commerce, Human Resource Associations, TV programs, and - more locally - the Times Union.
CBS News shared an interesting interview that gave the perspective of adults on the autism spectrum and their experience in the workforce; their unique skills and perspectives often play a major role in the day-to-day operations of a business. The article states: "We found about 30 large companies actively seeking employees on the autism spectrum, including Microsoft, JP Morgan and Ford, but there are still so many people with autism who are unemployed, and the numbers are growing. In the next decade, researchers at Drexel University estimate as many as 1.1 million Americans with autism will turn 18."
On a more direct, local level, Capital Region business representatives have been joining Wildwood's Work Readiness to share their first time job experiences, career paths, and advice for joining and succeeding in the workforce. Because of these conversations, nearly 20 future jobseekers now have a better understanding of the importance of doing what you love and embracing your individual skills and strengths. While the conversations used to happen on-site or in person, they have continued to occur throughout the pandemic in a virtual setting.
This year Wildwood nominated two partners in employment, Hannaford Supermarkets and Blaze Pizza, for the NDEAM Awards. The NDEAM Awards were hosted by the Capital Region Employer Alliance (CREA) on Friday, October 23, and recognized businesses for their contributions and employment of people with disabilities. Seven businesses in total were recognized, and Hannaford Supermarkets won a statewide award for their outstanding efforts in hiring and maintaining candidates with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blaze Pizza also won the small business award for their contributions and partnership with Wildwood for job training and job seeker referral programs. A big "thank you" goes out to all of the local businesses, and the entire awards ceremony can be watched online through this link.
As NDEAM nears an end, Wildwood would like to thank Marshall & Sterling Insurance; Schenectady County Public Library; M&T Bank; Albany Institute of History & Art; SOAKS; CVS Pharmacy; The Homeless and Travelers Aid Society (HATAS); Ravena Public Library; Niskayuna Central School District; Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP; UHY Advisors NY; Union College; The Merriam Insurance Agency; Mahoney Performance Institute; the Capital Region Chamber; and many more area businesses for their partnership and insight.
If you are interested in learning more about how Wildwood works with local businesses and connects them with potential employees, listen to the Employment Rebranding Podcast: https://anchor.fm/.../The-Rebranding-of.../a-a119obg
To learn how you can be a partner to Wildwood or special virtual guest, visit: business.wildwoodprograms.org