We All Can!
by Dean Hybl:
When former Walgreens Senior Vice President Randy Lewis recently spoke at a TATT Regional Forum, he set a vision for how major corporations can create a platform that allows for meaningful employment for historically “untapped” workers while also providing a great benefit for the company.
While Lewis started his journey for creating a workplace opportunity for all as a result of his own family situation and wondering whether there would ever be employment opportunities for his son with Autism, he eventually realized that by creating an environment that utilized the skills of workers with some level of disability he was making his company better.
Better because they were developing an inclusive culture and creating a sense of worth and value for people who may have previously struggled to find employment at a living wage, but also better because in many cases the previously “untapped” employees were high performers who made overall production and company operations better.
With unemployment in the Upstate hovering around 5% and new companies bringing jobs to the region at record rates, finding capable employees for all jobs is critical. Tapping all available employment groups is not only important for our economy, but also will have long-lasting benefits for the entire Upstate.
The Walgreens Distribution Center that Lewis helped bring to Anderson a decade ago is a model for how to create an inclusive work environment. There are other employers in the region who are also tapping into our previously untapped workforce. If your business is in need of suitable employees, I encourage you to look beyond traditional sources and see if there are other options that could connect you with employees who will be dedicated and help make your company better.
Whether someone may have a physical or mental disability, non-violent criminal history or other barrier that may appear to be an impediment to employment, there are organizations in our region working every day to connect people willing and capable of working with available jobs. Greenville CAN (Collaborative Action Network) has developed a list of local resources (click here for the link) that can help employers find capable employees who just need an opportunity to succeed.
The Value of a Regional Food System
By: Ashley Downing
The PIQUE on March 7th brought together more than 300 young professionals from across the Upstate region and common theme to the day was GET INVOLVED!
That’s all well and good but… how?
The Upstate is full of opportunities for young professionals to get engaged now to use their talents to make a difference in their community and in our region – we just have to find them. Whether you want to volunteer, enter into local government, focus on economic development, or the arts, the opportunity to make an impact is yours for the taking. Chances are, what you are looking for is already out there, it may just take some homework and a willingness to step out.
Interested in boosting your career? Below are just a few ways to get started…
• Find out if your community already has a young professionals group. It’s an easy way to get plugged in to yps and professional opportunities in your area.
• Get your name out there and attend business networking events, it’s KEY. Make a point to meet the business leaders in your area, they won’t bite! They can also help mentor, guide, and give recommendations to help you in your career.
• Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the news. Both in your area and surrounding areas. Sign up for newsletters from reputable outlets and actually read them! It’s amazing what you’ll learn.
• Be willing to invest in yourself. Read books and articles, take courses that will provide you more information or qualifications, go to lunch with one of those leaders you connected with and pick their brain.
Want to give back? Some tips to get you thinking…
• Figure out how much time you have to dedicate to getting involved. This will vary and there is no set amount that you should aim for, it’s up to you.
• Find your passion. Sometimes this is easier said than done but think about it; what you are interested in? What did you love to do as a kid/teen/student? Start there, then branch out. If you know your passion, seek out individuals and organizations that support that. Guaranteed, nonprofits will always welcome your interest and readiness to help out.
• Where do you want to give back? In your direct community or maybe a neighboring city?
• How do you want to serve? What about mentoring or working within a group, children or adults, animals, natural resources, etc. – how can your unique set of skills be best used?
The above is by no means a comprehensive list on how to get engaged, just a few things that I’ve picked up along the way. To get your wheels turning. Know that it is possible, people are generally nice and easy to talk to, and you have the wherewithal to do something that matters; for your career and/or your community.
Ashley is the Communications Manager for Ten at the Top and an Upstate native.