Hiring those with Developmental Disabilities is a matter of Leadership!

Last time we posted I discussed how my hunch that hiring people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) was key to a business’ success. It wasn’t an option. If a company is going to be all they can be then they need to hire those with IDD.

I ran across an empirical study that backed up my hunch. With permission of the research company we have put the research on our website as a free item you can order. Since it’s a PDF file you can down load it immediately. Report by the Institute for Corporate Productivity

I’ll be unpacking this great research over the next couple of weeks. Don’t forget that our special people at Furnace Hills Coffee roast special coffee. We believe we have the best coffee you can purchase, so shop for some today on our website (www.furnacehillscoffee.com).

Key findings
Survey analysis of organizations that employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities found:
1) Companies hire people with IDD for business reasons and are rewarded with business benefits.
Multiple dividends are cited, including the addition of highly motivated employees, demonstrating an inclusive and diverse culture that’s attractive to critical talent pools, and improving customer satisfaction.
2) The profile of a worker with IDD reads like that of an ideal employee.
Descriptors of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities include: dependable, engaged, motivated, great attendance, attention to work quality, and high productivity.
3) Positive reactions from employers abound.
Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed say hiring workers with IDD has been a positive experience, and of those, nearly one-third say the experience has exceeded their expectations.
4) Challenges are fewer than expected and resources are greater than anticipated.
Employers report minimal difficulty with preconceived challenges, while support resources for a successful placement—like job profile matching and guided onboarding—are readily available.
Analysis of the data also revealed that success related to hiring workers with IDD is reflective of the level of commitment an organization has to diversity and inclusion (D&I). Integrating D&I as part of the overall organizational strategy—as opposed to addressing it as part of a compliance initiative, a general corporate social responsibility strategy, or simply not addressing it at all—is a critical first step—one that also has a positive
connection to market performance.

What do you think of this research? Does it change the way you think of hiring those with IDD? Can we work together to change the workplace landscape in America?


A Matter of Leadership — Special Coffee or Special People or Both!

It has been a while since posting on this website. I have decided to start sharing on a regular basis our balance between coffee and people. You see Furnace Hills Coffee was started to provide jobs for people with developmental disabilities. Today we employ three people with developmental disabilities:

  • Erin has Down syndrome
  • Jason has Cerebral Palsy
  • Chris is Autistic

Our challenge to ourselves has been to roast the best coffees available showing the world that these disabilities don’t slow down our employees and in fact we can compete with anyone in the marketplace. I believe we are proving that challenge true! I truly believe that these three individuals roast and package some of the best specialty coffee you can drink in the USA. First let’s talk about what makes these three so special then later this week we’ll talk about why the coffee they roast is so special.

Special People:

  • Erin: She has a passion for roasting special coffee. She calls our roastery her shop. When she can’t go into work she cries and tells me, “I have to work, that’s my job.” How many people do you know cry when they can’t go to work? How many people do you know call where they work their company? If we don’t get at least ten orders overnight she us upset and is concerned that there may be nothing for her to do that day. She loves the coffee named after her, Erin’s Breakfast Blend. In fact she calls it, “My Breakfast Blend.” Do you know of anyone who approaches there work like Erin does?
  • Jason: He loves working at Furnace Hills Coffee. He has a passion to see us succeed. He calls on organizations and companies who may be able to use our coffee in his spare time. He wants to be a part of ever special event we do. He comes to work happy and puts his full energy into all he does. Jason has Cerebral Palsy. Yet that has not stopped him from doing everything in the shop. He has learned work arounds when it comes to the tasks he’s been asked to perform. And he does it with joy! When did you know of an employee who worked on his/her own time to make the company a success?
  • Chris: Do your employees or co-workers include a secret ingredient in their work? Chris does. He includes a pinch of love. Wouldn’t it be great if our co-workers said something like this, “I have the presentation done all it needs now is a pinch of love.” That’s Chris for you. He’s another one who cries when he can’t come to work. Did you ever cry when you couldn’t come to work?

I will measure our special people against your people any day and I do believe we will come out on top.

Check out our story here: Furnace Hills Story

Thursday we’ll discuss the rest of the team and what makes them so special. Don’t worry we’ll get around to this special coffee we roast. The best in the world! It is a matter of leadership!


What I didn’t know about Roasting Coffee!

We have been roasting coffee now for 2 1/2 years. It has been an awesome journey & we have learned a lot. Below you’ll find some of the things we have learned along the way!


  • There are two kinds of coffee beans in the world:
    • Arabica is what we mostly drink in this country. It is a better quality bean and tastes better. It has less caffeine than it’s counter part mentioned below.
    • Rabusta is an inferior bean that is used & grown in a number of countries around the world. Furnace Hills uses it in one of our blends to get a bite. Can you guess which one that is?
  • There are several ways to roast coffee:
    • You can use drum roasters. These roasters are usually gas fired and come in sizes that can roast as little as a pound at a time up to 500 pounds at a time. The Big Boys use
      English: Diedrich IR Series Coffee Roaster

      English: Diedrich IR Series Coffee Roaster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      the latter.

    • You can use fluid bed roasters. These are roasters that use hot air. They are sort of like giant air popcorn poppers. We use Sonofresco roasters
    • You can roast at home. Use a frying pan on your stove or a hot air popcorn popper. There are a number of home roasters you can purchase as well.
  • I have learned that the more you roast coffee the more you roast the caffeine out of it! That’s right! So the darker the roast the less caffeine it has in it. If you want a real jolt, go with a lighter roast. I’ll bet you the first time you do it will give you the shakes!
  • I didn’t know you grow coffee between the 25’s! Yes coffee is best grown between 25 degrees north & south. That’s a narrow band that circumnavigates our earth. In that band you have countries like Indonesia, Brazil, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Columbia, Costa Rica and many more that grow great coffee. Many of those listed above we roast!
  • I didn’t know how well the developmentally disabled can roast coffee and they really love doing it too! Yesterday around 3 pm Erin came out with her usual comment on Sundays, “Tomorrow I get to go to work!” She loves roasting coffee. Those that work at Happy Cup Roasting (http://happycup.com/) in Portland, OR and Aspire Coffee Works (https://www.aspirecoffeeworks.com/) in Chicago, IL love their jobs too!

Check out our coffees that Erin has roast at (http://furnacehillscoffee.com)! You’ll be surprised what those with developmental disabilities can do!

What did you learn about coffee roasting today? Let us know.

Enhanced by Zemanta