Hiring people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities is a social responsibility
Instant Monogramming began in the living room of majority owner Debi Bloom 36 years ago. It is now a 13-person operation on University Avenue in Rochester, NY. Rebecca Hetherington, daughter of Debi Bloom and part owner of the small business, is being honored as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) for their efforts in hiring and promoting people with disabilities. In response to their award Rebecca humbly states, “I am surprised and confused. We just try to be nice to everyone.” Our community is lucky to have people and businesses like hers that make a commitment to create employment opportunities for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD).
Their first experience working with people with disabilities was through BOCES TOUR program with an intern. From that experience they explored other opportunities and found Job Path, a division of the Arc of Monroe. “It’s great that every person we hire through Job Path comes with a job coach. The Job Coaches really make a huge difference in getting a new employee settled and comfortable with the job we’re asking them to do,” says Rebecca.
With regards to employing someone with a disability Rebecca explains, “We have a social responsibility to our community. We meet them where they are and with what they need. For many of our employees this is a big change and we do our best to be patient and thoughtful in our approach.”
As a result of hiring people with disabilities Rebecca has learned a lot about her business, especially their processes. “I learned to compartmentalize. Now I have a person who does each piece of our process and everything is more streamlined.” This was something she hadn’t considered before and the realization of its benefits was extremely impactful to her small business with thirteen employees.
It’s important to both Rebecca and Instant Monogramming to offer these opportunities to the community.
Rebecca’s advice to other small businesses is to give working with people with disabilities a chance. “We did and it’s been extremely beneficial. Partnering with organizations like Job Path, Heritage Christian Services and BOCES is an easy way to get started and you won’t regret it.”
Each October, ACCES-VR has the opportunity to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and celebrate the work of all our partners, who join together to make the connection between businesses seeking qualified workers and workers, who just happen to be individuals with abilities. Based on the successes, ACCES-VR and our partners will be celebrating at multiple events across New York State. These celebrations will emphasize local businesses investing in their local human resources and providing the opportunity for skilled workers to contribute to their communities, earn a living wage and have meaningful careers.
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