Guest Authored by Elique Guerra, Program Director, Endeavors Unlimited
What’s it like to hire and work with employees with disabilities? Here’s why we think it’s so rewarding
Some businesses hesitate to hire people with disabilities.
I say they’re missing out on some of the best employees I’ve ever seen.
As the Program Director for Endeavors Unlimited, a supportive employment program for adults with disabilities, I have seen firsthand the benefits, the joys, and the lasting relationships that come with investing in employees with disabilities.
From landscaping to sanitizing, dedication gets the job done.
At Endeavors Unlimited, we work with people with disabilities under two main lines of business: custodial and grounds maintenance work. We act as a competitive business— we are out there vying for jobs like any other mom-and-pop shop with a mower.
We believe that hiring employees with disabilities actually gives us a competitive advantage. These employees are loyal, hard workers with an incredible work ethic. Their dedication gets the job done, and they often are able to do it with a smile on their faces.
We’re also proud to offer a new line of work in light of the COVID-19 pandemic— sanitization and disinfection services. Through this EPA registered service, our employees with disabilities are performing in-demand, incredibly important services to protect daycares, senior care centers, restaurants, corporate offices, automobiles, and more.
Employees with disabilities have an inspiring attitude.
Through the Endeavors Unlimited program, we have found that people with disabilities are some of the most dedicated and optimistic people we know. In fact, statistics show that people with disabilities are reliable employees, have an overall higher job retention rate, and are less likely to get into work-related accidents.
Our employees come to work with an inspiring attitude. For them, this is more than just a paycheck. Rather, a steady job brings with it the opportunity for great relationships, self-value, and long-lasting skills and abilities. Because of them, we are reminded each day to be more thankful and excited about the little things.
Each employee is unique.
All disabilities manifest themselves differently. The people we work with are all different, individual people with individual obstacles to overcome— disabilities can include anything from deafness to PTSD to schizophrenia.
We work with each employee individually to identify and move beyond obstacles. For example, someone who struggles with social anxiety might find it difficult to receive feedback. If this is the case, we work with this employee to help recognize the triggers and overcome them.
We focus on equipping.
We love helping employees fulfill their goals. Each person learns on their own pathway and their own time. Some people want to work with us for ten or fifteen years. Others are looking to eventually leave Endeavors and pursue other careers and fields. We want to support our employees and help them in any way we can.
One incredible employee who we’ve been honored to work with is Van Bui— an employee of Endeavors Unlimited, who was recently awarded “Most Motivational Employee” by WorkQuest at their 2020 Artie Lee Hinds Awards ceremony!
Though Van is deaf, she does not let the disability define her. With the Endeavors Unlimited team for nearly three years, Van began her career on the custodial team and quickly made her way to the role of supervisor. Overseeing all custodial, landscape, and floorcare teams, Van ensures all clients of Endeavors Unlimited are receiving top-notch service quality while also advocating for the team and acting as the liaison between staff and leadership.
The stories we see are amazing.
We have been privileged to witness so many incredible journeys through Endeavors Unlimited. One of these stories is Javier— a Veteran with PTSD who found himself homeless with a substance abuse problem.
When he started working with Endeavors Unlimited, we saw him turn his life around. He went from being homeless to having a secure job he loved. All of a sudden, he drives a nice truck and he sends us pictures of barbecue with his family. He just bought a house, and he’s now teaching a WRAP program to help other individuals reach their full potential. Seeing that kind of progression is why we do what we do! Read all of Javier’s story here.
About Elique Guerra
Elique has over 10 years of operations, management, and organizational leadership experience in various roles. He has served his community as a Firefighter/EMT for 11 years. More recently, he was responsible for ongoing operations at the largest industrial laundry facility in the Southern US with a P&L of $9 million. He possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is a Certified Assistant Project Manager. He has extensive experience in training, profit maximization, business operations, six sigma principles, and building and developing teams. Elique is currently pursuing his Project Management Professional with the PMI.
About Endeavors Unlimited
Endeavors Unlimited is a part of the Endeavors continuum that provides housing, case management, life skills training, and supportive employment opportunities for adults with disabilities so that they can achieve a life full of stability, successes, and self-sufficiency. Endeavors Unlimited is a WorkQuest and Source America affiliate and an Endeavors company.