Q&A with Saratoga Olive Oil banner

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a time to recognize the vital roles people with disabilities play in making the nation’s workforce diverse and inclusive. Read about the positive experience Saratoga Olive Oil has had in working with AIM in recognition of NDEAM (National Disability Employment Awareness Month).

Why is it important to your business to hire people with diverse abilities?

Fay: Employing a person with diverse abilities brings our company to the next level of being a well-rounded business. It also elevates a level of understanding and acceptance by our employees which is brought from the warehouse into the community.

Zane filling up an olive oil bottleNDEAM’s theme for 2023, “Advancing Access & Equity”, addresses how an “inclusive workforce is a strong workforce”. How has employing a person with diverse abilities strengthened your workforce?

Fay: Zane is very inquisitive and asks great questions. His training and questions force us to examine our internal process and procedures from a different prospective which allows us to improve as a company.

How has the supported employment model, provided by AIM, helped you successfully employ the people served? Please share any positive stories with working with the Employment Support Professionals from AIM.

Fay: Carly has provided an understanding about Zane’s ability level. Her input has helped us to prevent any misunderstanding and or miscommunications. She has been responsive and always asks for feedback.

What are some highlights and accomplishments you have experienced or seen from your employees with diverse abilities?

Fay: Zane brings a smile and joy whenever he comes in. He feels a sense of ownership and belonging with our company. He is a jokester and likes to tease! He and his mom love to try our oils and balsamics and bring us delicious baked goods to try.

Zane holding a recipe card in front of two bottles of olive oilWhat have your learned through this experience of employing people with diverse abilities? With this, what advice do you have for employers considering hiring employees of diverse abilities?

Fay: In our case, Zane has a strong attention to detail which is a benefit in our company. A routine works well and provides us with a positive contributing employee. I would give the following advice to other employers – Don’t be afraid to try hiring an employee with diverse abilities. You may be missing out on a hidden gem of an employee and person!

Learn more about Saratoga Olive Oil here.