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.