Any time Bet-R Neighborhood Market owner Cliff Boulden has a job opening, he tries to hire a person with an intellectual or developmental disability—not as a sign of sympathy, but because he sees them as an untapped workforce that’s eager to stock shelves and read labels.
“It’s not charity. It’s not, ‘We feel sorry for you, here’s a job,’” Boulden says. “We benefit because they’re producing.”
With an airtight labor market, as Business Report writes in a recent story, more local companies like Bet-R are beginning to examine this untapped pool of workers—who employers say are capable, focused and friendly—to fill both full- and part-time jobs with historically high turnover rates and vacancies.
Companies across a variety of sectors are also hiring people with special needs to help with their bottom lines. For many, that means filling gaps in skills and manpower.
The trend is noticeably playing out in the information technology sector, where local firms are looking for workers who can perform highly repetitive jobs that typically have high turnover rates, like coding and data entry. Most people on the autism spectrum, however, flourish under routine, often bringing different—and welcomed—perspective to product development.