Working in partnership with businesses across Greater Cincinnati, LADD’s Supported Employment Program is unique in its approach to assisting people with developmental disabilities in finding and keeping meaningful, competitive employment.
Individuals come to us from varying backgrounds, skills, and wants in a job. It is our first focus to get to know that person through a process of discovery so that we can facilitate the best match for both the employer and the employee. Once hired, our job coach is on site to support that employee, his/her co-workers, and their relationship to help everyone succeed. The follow-along phase occurs after the coaching is faded, and is our ongoing support to assist with any possible adjustments or issues that may arise.
Some of the businesses who have hired individuals through our Supported Employment Program include:
Contemporary Art Center
Llanfair Retirement Community
Buffalo Wild Wings
We would like to introduce you to our Supported Employment Program Director, Diane Gaither-Thompson.
What is your greatest personal satisfaction with doing your job?
My greatest personal satisfaction is knowing I have helped an individual reach a personal goal that enhances his/her quality of life, their self-esteem and brings them a sense of accomplishment. It is a joy to know/see how much satisfaction folks derive from getting the job they desire, making new friends and feeling appreciated and valued for what they bring.
What are some basic tips for employers on helping people with disabilities to succeed in the workplace?
1. Receive and value what our folks bring to the business/organization/agency.
2. Know that inclusion and diversity enhance the bottom line for business such as expanded patron base, increased productivity, and employee loyalty.
3. Know that the economic cost of disregarding 20% of the population is not a ‘best practice’.
4. There are tax incentives (WOTC) to hiring disabled individuals and legal advantages.
5. Compliance with legal requirements reduces the possibility of discrimination complaints.
Tell us about what a good day at work looks like for you.
A good day looks like a job placement, helping an employer develop a long term strategy for successful inclusion of disabled folks into the business, exchanging ideas with peers relative to innovative ideas around SE, receiving referrals to welcome into the program, no billing to complete
What would you like to say to employers about why hiring someone with a disability is good for their business?
I would say that hiring individuals with disabilities is the first step to broadening their business base. By practicing inclusion and diversity, the company reaps financial rewards, improved reputation in the community and workers who are loyal and productive.
Tell us about your background prior to LADD, and how does that relate to your current work?
My background includes graduating from UC at a time when there were few minorities accepted/graduating from professional programs there; I majored in psychology and eventually became an EEO Investigator for the state. My career path advanced to being an EEO Investigator/Counselor with the federal government and later an AA Officer with a state institution of higher learning. I spent over 30 years in the enforcement arm of discrimination law. I also served as a substitute teacher with Cincinnati (23 yrs.)/Norwood Public (5yrs.) Schools. I believe my education, experience and exposure have prepared me to most currently work in the social aspect of interpretation and application of laws relevant to individuals with disabilities.
How long have you been at LADD?
On August 22, I celebrated my 11th year anniversary.
Interested in learning more about our Supported Employment Program? Please contact Diane at Diane@laddinc.org or call 513-861-5233.