October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), working to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Not only is 2015 the 70th year some form of NDEAM has been recognized, but also the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Resource Toolbox has many ideas for recognizing the month and building awareness. This year’s theme is especially powerful: “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.” Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, summed up the inspiration for the theme in a news release:
“This year’s theme encapsulates the important message that people with disabilities are just that — people. And like all people, we are the sum of many parts, including our work experiences. Disability is an important perspective we bring to the table, but, of course, it’s not the only one.”
In celebrating this month, we want to bring attention to the fact that not all disabilities are visible. As defined in the ADA, a person with a disability has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. People with disabilities thus have a wide variety of physical and mental health conditions, many of which are invisible to others.
While significant progress has been made in the employment of people with disabilities, much work still needs to be done. People with disabilities face an unemployment rate roughly twice that of people without disabilities and are more likely to be employed part-time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. NDEAM offers a chance to recognize the contributions of employees with disabilities, and to encourage employers to take steps to form more inclusive workplaces.
Did you know that exports to China are supporting jobs for people with disabilities at DePaul Industries’ Portland food packaging facility?
DePaul and our brand of snack foods and infant formula, Juniper Naturals, were featured in a story on KGW News Sept. 22 highlighting the importance of trade to Oregon’s economy. DePaul began exporting last year, and was recognized with the New Exporter Award in May 2015.
Summer has flown by, and we can’t believe that fall is nearly here. We’re looking forward to a number of events in the next few months that will be taking various members of our team around the country – and the world! Here’s where you’ll find us over the next few months:
The Alternative Staffing Alliance Annual Conference portion of the event will be Sept. 18 and 19, and will feature sessions on topics like supporting and tracking workers’ job retention, and exploring direct hire and contract business. DePaul’s President & CEO, Travis Pearson, will appear on a panel about alternative staffing sales. Never heard of alternative staffing? Learn more here.
B Corp Champions Retreat; Portland/Skamania Lodge, October 13-16 DePaul Industries is pleased to be on the schedule for the opening day of the B Corp Champions Retreat, which is being held in our headquarters city this year! As you may remember, DePaul (which remains a nonprofit organization) established two wholly-owned B Corp subsidiaries in early 2014. One of these B Corps is for our packaging operation, and attendees of the Champions Retreat will tour our Hayden Island packaging facility on the retreat’s opening day (Oct. 13), followed by a discussion about mission-driven hiring.
The Skamania Lodge (in the Columbia River Gorge in Stevenson, Wash., about 45 minutes from Portland) will serve as the headquarters for much of the event. In addition to a variety of sessions, speakers and networking opportunities, the agenda also includes a street fair and concert in Portland on Oct. 15.
Trade Mission with Oregon Governor Kate Brown; China, Vietnam and Japan, October 12-21 Also in October, Pearson will be accompanying Oregon Governor Kate Brown on a trade mission to three Asian countries.
DePaul’s export business, which we began developing just a few years ago, saw significant growth in 2015 and was recognized with the New Exporter Award by the Oregon Consular Corps. We’re currently exporting nuts and dried fruits to China, and looking to expand our export business to other countries and products, including infant formula. We’re honored to accompany the Governor on her first trade mission, and look forward to spreading the word about the wealth of Oregon businesses and products.
Contact us if you’d like to connect at any of these events!
Summer is by the far the busiest season for temporary staffing companies. Many staffing customers, in industries like agriculture, manufacturing and transportation, are in peak season and must bring on temporary staff to help manage considerable upticks in business.
Read on for tips to help you maximize your investment in temporary staffing this summer.
1. Over-communicate with your staffing agency.
Do you have an in-demand skilled position, such as a CDL driver or welder, coming open in the near future? Are temporary employees exceeding your expectations? Have a huge order on tap next month that will require many additional employees? All of these scenarios (and many more) are key times to be in contact with your staffing agency. Designating a point person responsible for the majority of communications with the staffing firm can cut down on miscommunications and save time.
2. Provide detailed job descriptions.
Jobs vary widely by employers—production workers in one warehouse, for instance, might need to be able to lift 50 pounds and drive a forklift, while in another they may be required to lift light items repeatedly. By providing your staffing agency with a detailed description (called a job order by the staffing agency), they’ll be much more likely to find a great candidate.
3. Don’t forget about onboarding.
With the rush of the busy season, you may be tempted to get employees right to work with little preparation. But providing them with comprehensive training and familiarizing them with your workplace is key to their productivity and your business running smoothly.
4. Make safety a priority.
With so many new employees working during the summer, safety is a major concern. Safety should be a partnership with your staffing company; the staffing firm should provide basic safety training (inquire as to whether they have a Safety Manager and can develop a customized safety training specifically for your company), while workplace-specific training should be included during onboarding at your workplace. Also focus on heat safety if employees will be working outside or in hot indoor environments.
Cities around the west are bracing for a heat wave, with many expected to reach temperatures in the triple digits this weekend. Our locations in Portland, Salem, Eugene and Hermiston, Oregon, and Boise, Idaho, will likely see record highs just a few days after the first official day of summer.
Staying hydrated is key to staying safe. Drinking lots of water (OSHA recommends every 15 minutes) helps the body replenish all of the fluids lost to sweat. Staying nourished with regular meals and snacks is also important, and those doing very hard labor may drink a sports drink in addition to water to replace fluids and electrolytes.
REST Taking breaks to sit down in the shade helps the body cool down. Consider changing your break policy, or instituting different work/rest schedules, during periods of extreme heat so employees have more frequent breaks, and/or of a longer duration.
SHADE Breaks and meals should be taken out of the sun whenever possible. An area that is covered, or preferably indoors with a fan or air conditioning, provides some much-needed reprieve and a chance for workers to cool down. Make sure to have water available in this area, as well.
Proper clothing and sun protection (such as hats and sunscreen) are also important factors. Employees and supervisors should be very familiar with the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, and know who to call in case of an emergency (some companies contract with AMR or another company for mobile health care services).