Opportunity Knocks! Good Reason Dog Treats Hires Four Permanent Employees
It wouldn’t necessarily be big news in every company. “However, “Company hires four permanent employees,” has a very different meaning when the company in question is Good Reasons™ Dog Treats, and the employees are developmentally disabled individuals.
Good Reasons™ Dog Treats is a very different kind of company, a social enterprise designed to do two important things. The first is to provide high quality, delicious, hand crafted dog treats. In this they are already very successful for a start-up enterprise, with large orders pouring in from retailers such as Adams Fairacre Farms’ multiple locations and Williams Lumber, plus online sales at the GoodReasons.com website. The second is to provide employment in an integrated workplace for people with developmental disabilities.
Vicki Sylvester, Ph.D. CEO and founder of Good Reasons™ puts it this way, “Let’s not call our workers individuals with developmental disabilities, let’s just call them ‘people.’ Like the rest of us people, our employees want a job to earn money, to achieve a sense of self-worth, and to meet new challenges and new people.”
Since Sylvester is also CEO of Community Based Services, a 501 (c) 3 non profit in New York’s Hudson Valley, serving individuals with autism and developmental disabilities, she was more aware than most potential employers that this was a huge opportunity, but also presented some issues to both the employee and employer alike. She says, “Not only does the employee need training, but the work place and existing employees need training, too.”
People with developmental disabilities can obtain and retain jobs, but some will need more support than others. Sylvester comments, “we provide skills training, job coaching and ongoing support to our employees, whatever their ability.” Thanks to economic incentives a more enlightened environment, many businesses, like Good Reasons™ are offering opportunities for competitive jobs for people who in the past were unable to access and keep employment.
When Cheryl J. was asked how she felt about her position at Good Reasons™, she said. “I really love my job and coming here. It lets me buy things I want.” John B., who is demonstrating excellent skills at hand-cutting dog treats, comments playfully, “It keeps me out of trouble.” Job satisfaction and a harmonious workplace: Vicki Sylvester says that she hopes Good Reasons™ will provide a model to many other employers.