Business & Finance

Press Releases

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Celebrates Employees and Employers Alike

efb5418d8129b49e2cba_CAU_ShopRite.JPG
Sharon Mullroy (left), a person with disabilities, poses with Laura Augustine, ShopRite From Home Manager, in front of the Clark ShopRite.
efb5418d8129b49e2cba_CAU_ShopRite.JPG

ELIZABETH, NJ--October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual celebration of both people with disabilities who work and those businesses and organization that employ them. More than 18 million Americans with disabilities are employed today, contributing to their employer's productivity and profits while paying taxes and supporting the economy as consumers.

Locally, the nonprofit Community Access Unlimited (CAU) has a robust program for preparing its members with disabilities for employment, then connecting them with businesses looking to employ them, according to Joanne Oppelt, assistant executive director of business development at the agency.

CAU operates an Employment and Day Habilitation Services Department that assists those members who wish to work, comprising pre-placement services, including training in interviewing skills, work dress and on-the-job behavior; liaison support; on-the-job coaching; and follow-up to ensure both the member and the employer are happy, according to Oppelt.

Sign Up for E-News

"We're always serving as the advocate for both the member and the employer," she said.

CAU member Sharon Mohry has been employed at ShopRite for more than 20 years, working six hours a day one or two days a week. She started in maintenance and today restocks returns and helps fill orders that come in online for either pick-up or delivery. Mohry loves her job.

"I like the people," she said. "My supervisor, Laura, is very good to me. We're pals. I like what I do and I really like getting paid. You work hard for your money."

Laura Augustine, ShopRite From Home Manager in Clark, said Mohry is an excellent employee.

"She's the best," she said. "She does everything we ask and more. She's always here and always pleasant."

CAU member Chavia Crute is a food service worker for Witsons Culinary Group at Irvington High School, working Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. She has been with Witsons for about one year.

"I love my job," Crute said. "The people I work with are very friendly and I love working with kids."

Krystal Tanner, food services director at Witsons, is thrilled with Crute's performance and the way she interacts with the adults and teenagers at the school.

"She's very consistent and reliable and she has an extremely welcoming and soothing personality," she said. "She also has good attendance and is very punctual."

More than 50 CAU members are employed at local businesses in Union County, in areas including retail, maintenance, clerical, culinary, security and animal care, according to Oppelt. In addition to ShopRite and Witsons, businesses employing CAU members include Sam's Club, Target, Marshall's, the Swan Motel, the Humane Society and CAU itself (8 percent of CAU's 1,200 employees are people with disabilities).

U.S. businesses are becoming increasingly open to hiring and accommodating people with disabilities, according to the 2017 Disability Equality Index, a survey jointly conducted by the U.S. Business Leadership Network and the American Association of People with Disabilities. Research shows there are a number of significant benefits for businesses employing people with disabilities.

Studies show employees with disabilities are absent less frequently than those without disabilities and are more likely to stay at their job, according to Oppelt. That translates into savings, as the cost to a business of refilling a high-turnover, low-paying position (earning less than $30,000 per year, for example) is 16 percent of the annual salary, or $3,328 for a $10 per hour retail employee, according to Zane Benefits.

Employees with disabilities are less likely to get work-related injuries. A study by DuPont found workers with disabilities performed significantly higher than those without disabilities in the area of safety, according to the Michigan Community Service Commission.

Employing people with disabilities increases a company's diversity, which has been documented to benefit businesses in such areas as enhanced customer service and improved return on investment and sales. According to HR and recruitment firm Brazen, diverse workforces result in better decision-making and improved customer service while a 2015 study by Deloitte showed that diverse companies had 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period than did non-diverse companies.

Businesses that employ people with disabilities also may qualify for a number of tax incentives, including the Disabled Access Credit, Barrier Removal Tax Deduction and Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

A study conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity stated, "More than three-quarters of employers surveyed ranked their employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities as good or very good on work quality, motivation, engagement, integration with co-workers, dependability and attendance. Many employers reported being initially leery of hiring people with IDD, only to see their concerns dissolve after the employees were on board."

Businesses seeking to learn more about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and how to go about doing so should visit the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion at www.askearn.org. Those interested in working specifically with CAU may call Fredia McKinnie at 908.354.3040, ext. 4645, or email her at fmckinnie@caunj.org. 

CAU is a statewide Elizabeth-based nonprofit providing support programs and services to adults with disabilities as well as youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, providing supports in areas including housing, vocational skills and life-skills training, education, advocacy and recreation.

About Community Access Unlimited

Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 38 year in 2017, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community. CAU provides support and gives voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little support and no voice in society. CAU helps people with housing, life skills, employment, money management, socialization and civic activities. CAU also supports opportunities for advocacy through training in assertiveness, decision-making and civil right. CAU currently serves more than 6,000 individuals and families, with the number served growing each year. For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, online at www.caunj.org or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Elizabeth

Upcoming Events

Tue, February 20, 11:00 AM

Vauxhall Library, Vauxhall

Toddler & Pre-K Program

Education

Wed, February 21, 6:00 PM

Vauxhall Library, Vauxhall

Club Teen: Painting Class

Arts & Entertainment Education

Wed, February 21, 7:00 PM

Congregation Beth Israel, Scotch Plains

Course on Biblical Interpretation Taught by ...

Education Religions And Spirituality

Union County Freeholders Partner in Two Upcoming Hiring Events

February 17, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders have announced two hiring event opportunities coming up with Griswold Home Care of Union County and the United Airlines “Summer Assist” youth program.

The first event is with Griswold Home Care of Union County. They are a privately owned, non-medical home care company and are looking for Certified Home Health Aides ...

“Hidden in Plain Sight” - A Presentation Centered Around a Teen’s Bedroom 

ROSELLE, NJ - Elizabeth Parents, grandparents, caregivers, when it comes to your children and drugs, do you know where to look? Do you know what you are looking for? You may be surprised at what is "Hidden in Plain Sight."

The Roselle Everett Hatcher Prevention Coalition and Prevention Links invite all parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and other adults from the city of ...

Summit resident Nancy King will be honored with a Lifetime Service Award from Elizabeth Organization

ELIZABETH, NJ - Summit resident Nancy King will be honored with a Lifetime Service Award as Family and Children’s Services of Elizabeth, celebrates its 125th anniversary, hosting the organization's sixth annual Red Carpet Party March 1, at Canoe Brook Country Club.

King is the founder and benefactor of "Nancy’s Place," a Covenant House ...

At Westfield High School, Student Says ‘It’s Almost Normal to Juul Here’

February 16, 2018

Editor’s note: This story about the rise in teen e-cigarette use, written by Westfield High School student Greta Frontero, originally ran in the Jan. 8 edition of WHS student newspaper Hi’s Eye.

WESTFIELD, NJ — A 12th-grade Westfield High School female said she doesn’t bring her Juul to school, but will use someone else’s if the opportunity ...

Another Holiday, Another Encounter with Marine Life along Jersey Shore

February 19, 2018

SPRING LAKE, NJ — In neighboring Spring Lake, a baby seal made its way onto the beach near the north end pavilion early this afternoon.

Photographer Nancy Orlowski discovered the harbor seal pup near the jetty situated just south of the pavilion on Ocean Avenue at Ludlow Avenue.

The seal’s Presidents Day appearance on February 19 comes one day after a whale was spotted off the ...

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

February 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Mintz & Geftic Secures Class Certification for Drivers in Wage and Hour Case

February 16, 2018

Is your employer failing to pay you time and a half for working more than 40 hours/week?

Is your employer misclassifying you as an independent contractor rather than an employee to avoid paying overtime premium pay?

These are some of the allegations being made by the plaintiffs and their attorney Bryan Mintz, of Mintz & Geftic LLC, against Big City Automotive and its ...