See Me as Your Coworker

Alex Hayes loves his job at H.C. Duke and Son (manufacturers of Electro Freeze), and his company loves what he brings to the table! Not only is his working role a major asset to helping skilled operators become more efficient and productive, but his infectious enthusiasm and team player attitude boosts the morale and team spirit of everyone he works with at H.C. Duke and Son. His direct supervisor even said that ever since Alex has to come to work for the company, he personally has experienced much more work satisfaction. While Alex certainly has brought joy to the company, the company has also brought Alex many pleasures of his own. Alex loves payday and the perks that come with working at a company that manufactures the Electro Freeze, a machine that is essential for making Blizzards at Dairy Queen. His favorite days are Blizzard days when H.C. Duke and Son’s specialty products are tested for quality, and the workers all get tasty ice-cream samples. 

Alex got his position through The Arc’s Community Employment Services program, which provides local businesses with quality employees while reducing employers’ turnover and absenteeism through job matching and job coaching. Meg Pfoutz, Human Resources Manager at H.C. Duke and Son, was looking for potential employees during a tight labor market and knew that finding a solution meant reaching out to The Arc of the Quad Cities Area. Says Meg of the experience, “If companies have Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plans, but do not include neuro-divergent communities or people with disabilities, then they are missing opportunities.” 

When it came to finding a workforce solution in the tightening labor market, the company made use of The Arc as a community partner, something more and more employers are discovering. Says Meg Pfoutz, “We have few unskilled positions, but we did have a number of choke points that didn’t require specific skills or certifications to fulfill.” She picked up the phone and spoke with The Arc’s Job Developer about customized employment which is an interchange between the Job Developer and the employer to find the best solution for the employer to match them with the abilities of people with disabilities looking for work opportunities. Jenny Miller, The Arc’s Community Employment Services Director came in to talk to all the employees at the plant about working alongside people with disabilities, building internal sensitivities, and mutually supportive work culture for all.

By partnering with The Arc of the Quad Cities Area, H.C. Duke and Son gave an opportunity that changed Alex’s working life, but the unforeseen benefits to the entire production team was a sweet surprise. Alex is quite an asset to the H.C. Duke and Son team, and the definition of a good co-worker.

You can post what inclusion means to you by tagging The Arc of the Quad Cities Area (@ARCQCA) and using hashtags #DDAware, #DDAwareness, and #InclusionMatters.