Inclusive employ-ment: a sound invest-ment


The website Disability Scoop posted a great article this week about the business case for employing people with disabilities.  It profiles the successful partnership between a Chicago-area bakery, Sugar & Spice Extraordinary Sweet Treats, and Have Dreams, a non-profit that serves individuals with autism.  Together, they developed a grant-funded bakery training program–designed to provide several of Have Dreams’ clients with opportunities to learn and build experience, while simultaneously meeting crucial business expansion needs for Sugar & Spice.  As a condition of the grant, Northwestern University conducted a productivity study on the program, and concluded that the participants–three young men with autism–made significant enough contribution that it made good business sense to incorporate them into the operation; Sugar & Spice’s manager Jean Kroll agreed, and hired all three.  Concerning her decision, Kroll tells Disability Scoop, “People always say, ‘That’s such a nice thing to do […] I say, ‘Yes it is nice. But it’s also a smart thing to do.’”

According to Kroll, her employees seem to be thriving–and the partnership between Have Dreams and Sugar & Spice will continue as well, with a new round of interns already set to start their training program.  The success shared by all involved is a strong testament to the notion that creative, ability-focused employment for individuals with disabilities can produce significant value for a business, both socially and financially.  Get the full story here: