Here’s what Acadia’s Vice President of Manufacturing, Neill Christopher, had to say about this partnership with The Arc NCR:
Question: How did Acadia Windows and Doors’ partnership with The Arc NCR begin?
Answer: We didn’t partner with The Arc NCR to be altruistic; we partnered with them because to do so makes sense as a business decision. This is a great pool of workers. We had a great deal of trepidation when The Arc NCR first approached us. This is a manufacturing environment, with large sheets of glass, saws, and presses, all capable of inflicting serious injury. What we learned is that everything that we did to make things safer for our team members from The Arc NCR, made it safer for everyone else as well. We’re an OSHA SHARP site; proud of our safety record while striving to always make our facility safer for all who work or visit here.
Question: What are a few of the outcomes that have been evident through this partnership?
Answer: As promised, our team members from The Arc NCR are reliable. They consistently have exemplary attendance records, and always hit their production goals. As our partnership with The Arc NCR developed, we found that our company was changing in several positive ways. First of all, we worked better as a team. In planning to assimilate our new employees, we problem solved in a way that was different for us, and this new ability carried over into all aspects of our teamwork. We were learning to think differently, and forming interdepartmental relationships that hadn’t existed before.
Question: Are there any changes that surprised you as a result of hiring people with disabilities?
Answer: We found ourselves becoming a kinder company. Along with looking out for our team members from The Arc NCR, we began to look out for one another, too. It was a subtle change at first, but we’ve learned to embrace this change as we work together on a daily basis. If I’m having a tough day, I’ll take a quick walk around our factory floor. Our team members from The Arc NCR take visible joy in their accomplishments, and are always eager to show what they’ve produced so far each day. Their joy is contagious, and I return to my office recharged and inspired by their example.
Kudos to Acadia Windows and Doors. It is refreshing to hear that even with some trepidation and fear of the unknown, you pushed through and did a right action by taking a leap of faith in partnering with The Arc and those that they serve to discover the joys and real business benefits of this partnership. Often we have experienced the closed door policy of businesses not taking the extra time to be of service and succumbing to bias against people of differing abilities. Your recounts of your experiences deserve to be shared with as many other businesses as possible to assist others in the possibilities that exist to open new doors in partnering with those we may fear.