DePaul Industries Blog

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October 6, 2014

National Disability Employment Month 2014October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), which aims to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. “Expect. Employ. Empower” is the theme for 2014, and the Office of Disability Employment Policy has ideas and resources for recognizing the month and building awareness.

Unemployment and underemployment remain very serious problems for people with disabilities. In September, just 31.1% of people with disabilities were participating in the workforce, according to the Kessler Foundation/University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability, compared to a 76.2% labor force participation rate for people without disabilities.

Not all employers are familiar with the many benefits of hiring people with disabilities, so we wanted to round up three of our most popular blog posts on this topic:

Return on Disability: The Bottom Line
Rather than thinking about disability employment as a philanthropy or diversity initiative, why not think about it the way you think about any other business decision? Rich Donovan suggests that we should “look at disability through the lens of economic value, rather than social value.”

Looking to Improve Your Bottom Line?
We’d be surprised if you answered “no” to this question, and you may also be surprised by our solution: hire people with disabilities. Countless big-name companies like Walgreens and Marriott Hotels have made concerted efforts to hire people with disabilities and seen benefits like reduced costs, increased productivity, and reduced employee turnover.

The Business Benefits of Hiring People With Disabilities: A Roundup of Recent News
It’s great to see stories in the media about employers who have experienced the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. Last winter, three articles caught our eye, including one on how software company SAP is leveraging the talents of employees with autism.

Interested in learning how DePaul Industries can help your business benefit from the talents of people with disabilities? Contact us today.

Alternative Staffing Alliance Conference is Just Around the Corner

September 24, 2014

alternative-staffing-alliance-logoNext week, we’re looking forward to connecting with alternative staffing organizations from around the country at the Alternative Staffing Alliance Annual Conference in Atlanta.

Alternative staffing organizations (ASOs) are social enterprises that combine a temporary staffing business model with supportive services to help job seekers with obstacles to employment enter and advance in the workplace. The conference offers a variety of sessions to help ASOs expand their businesses and create more work opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

A complete schedule of the conference, which runs from Oct. 1-3, is available on the Alternative Staffing Alliance (ASA) website. Some highlights we’re particularly looking forward to include:

Sales Ridealongs
Wednesday, Oct. 1; 8:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
Alternative staffing is a unique approach, and ASOs face a number of challenges not faced by either traditional staffing agencies or social service providers. Conference co-host First Step Staffing will take six lucky conference participants on sales calls throughout Atlanta to share ideas and approaches for alternative staffing sales.

Planning for Sustainable Growth
Thursday, Oct. 2; 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Our own President & CEO Dave Shaffer will be a panelist for the plenary session. The first portion of the session will explore the complex world of markets and financing, and Dave will discuss our national expansion as PurposeSTAFF. The second portion will focus on finding, developing and retaining staff members who have both business acumen and embrace the social mission.

Use Public Policy to Leverage Business Development
Friday, Oct. 3; 9 a.m.-10:15 a.m.
You’re likely familiar with the Department of Labor’s Final Rule to Section 503, which took effect in March, and offers a great opportunity to ASOs that specialize in employing people with disabilities and veterans. Panelists from a variety of different organizations, including the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, will review the regulations and discuss how federal contractors are implementing them.

Hire Temporary Staff Now to Increase Inventory for the Holidays

September 16, 2014

Increasing inventory for holiday season with staffingThe first signs of fall are upon us: kids are back in school, leaves are starting to change and temperatures are cooling. The holidays may feel far away but will be here before we know it. For consumer goods companies, that means now is the time to ramp up production to ensure inventory volume for the holiday season.

So in warehouses around the country, companies that sell foods and beverages, clothing, electronics and other consumer goods are ramping up production. Not only are they producing increased quantities of their year-round products, but adding special holiday retail items like gift baskets, gift sets and products in holiday-themed packaging.

How are most companies increasing their volume quickly and efficiently? By hiring temporary staff. Bringing in temporary employees during peak season ensures that production goes as scheduled, and that companies aren’t overstaffed during slower seasons. And, it helps to avoid the loss of productivity that comes from overloading existing workers and the hidden costs of overtime.

A variety of employees can assist in the production ramp-up, including:

Production workers are obviously key to increasing product volume. Whether they’re working on the line, driving a forklift, operating machinery, doing material handling, providing maintenance or janitorial services, or handling quality assurance or security, they are the backbone of warehouses producing all kinds of products around the country.

While warehouses are buzzing during ramp-up, so are the administrative and accounting functions. Whether more staff members are needed to answer increased call and email volume, accounting clerks to manage the increase in sales or administrative assistants to manage busy schedules and travel arrangements, administrative staff members are also key to peak season production.

With heightened volume levels and deliveries, demand for drivers has also likely increased. Ramping up driver hiring (whether in-demand CDL drivers or delivery drivers who don’t need commercial licenses) ensures that products get to distribution or retail centers on schedule.

While it may seem early to think about the holidays, preparation is already in full swing for many employers. During this busy time, businesses have plenty of operational challenges and likely don’t have the time to spend hours recruiting and hiring staff who may only remain on payroll for a short time. Allowing a staffing agency to take on your recruiting and hiring during this essential ramp-up time is cost-effective and will help ensure that your company is prepared for the holiday season.

The American CDL Driver Shortage: What You Need to Know

August 26, 2014
Truck Driver Shortage

Photo courtesy Flickr user Randy Heinitz

The American trucking industry is facing a serious shortage of commercial driver’s license (CDL) drivers that doesn’t look to abate anytime soon. Despite the national unemployment rate being over 6%, the industry struggles to find enough qualified drivers, as anyone who has ever recruited or hired drivers will tell you.

This trend has far-reaching implications, considering the trucking industry’s integral role in the U.S. economy. Nearly 70% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Moving more than 9 billion tons of freight annually requires more than 3 million truck drivers, according to the ATA.

The ATA estimates that there is a current shortage of about 35,000 CDL drivers, and that shortage will increase on average by 100,000 a year. Ninety percent of U.S. carriers say they cannot find enough drivers who meet the Department of Transportation criteria, and turnover (the rate at which drivers leave the industry and are replaced by new drivers) is high at 92%, putting it above 90% for the second consecutive year.

This shortage has a number of causes, including:

»  Federal regulations and changes to the hours of service.
These changes reduce the number of hours drivers can drive and increase required breaks, meaning drivers are driving longer without extra pay, and trucking companies have to hire more drivers and use more trucks.

»  Falling driver wages.
Average annual driver pay was roughly $40,000 in 2013, down 6% from 10 years prior when adjusted for inflation.

»  Older drivers retiring and fewer young people coming into the industry.
The average age of professional drivers is 55 years old, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while many companies are seeking physically fit drivers willing to work incredibly long hours.

» High demands of the job, including extended time away from home.
Many drivers leave the trucking industry to stay at home and have more time with their families, even though they may earn less in another industry. Young people entering the profession find that being a driver is more challenging than it first appears, leading many new drivers to quit within three months of being an over the road (OTR) driver. These same young people may seek out a local driving position, only to find that they do not possess the experience required of most companies seeking a driver.

Companies seeking help staffing driver positions need to be aware of this national shortage of qualified, professional truck drivers. Many companies want drivers who have stable work history, but job hopping in the trucking industry is at an all-time high, due to many of the challenges listed above.

The immediate solution is not an easy one, but there are a number of ways those within and without the industry can help. These include:

»  Offering higher rates of pay.
A recent article in Logistics Management cited increasing pay as “potentially the most direct way to boost recruiting efforts.”

»  Changing expectations of the “perfect driver” and showing flexibility in hiring.
This could include being willing to train seemingly less experienced drivers, and accepting the right driver for the job. That right driver may be older and might have had ten jobs in six years and a speeding ticket, but may be a better fit than the driver who is younger and has had three trucking jobs in two years.

»  Flexibility on the part of drivers seeking positions. 
Local drivers need to understand that they not only need to have experience, but that having a so-called “local” job may mean they are away from home a few nights a week, and will most often work long shifts 6 days a week. In addition to driving, they are also expected to provide customer service and ably manage any complaints or issues.

»  Spreading the word about the gravity of the driver shortage.
More attention has been focused on the shortage of late, helping to raise awareness on the part of drivers and employers and hopefully attract new talent to the field.

Addressing and overcoming the driver shortage will not necessarily be easy, but with employers and drivers understanding the challenges and working together, compromises and adjustments can be made to continue to keep America’s trucking industry thriving.

Staffing CDL Drivers


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