ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — October is National Disability Awareness Month and the theme for 2021 is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion”.

Locally, the Crickler Vending Company works with the Arc of Monroe to diversify their workforce. Nearly 50% of the warehouse staff is made up of individuals with disabilities.

“They are definitely team players and provide a huge contribution not only with their effort, but also with their product knowledge as well,” said Thomas Johnson, warehouse manager.

Although the pandemic has caused staffing shortages across industries, Johnson said his employees with disabilities have often been the most consistent workers.

“Everyone that we’ve hired over the last two years during the pandemic have stayed and are actually working for us now,” Johnson said.

Triston Peiris said his favorite part has been, “making new friends.” Also, having an income means he can save up for an apartment and, “take care of my family — my parents, and my sisters,” Peiris said.

Jay Simms also is a warehouse employee and said he likes when the new hires learn the skills needed.

“Once everybody knows what they’re doing, it makes it a little bit easier for us to keep going for shipments,” said Simms. 

Johnson said one of the best parts for him is getting to watch his employees grow as people too.

“They come out of their shell, they’re more communicative with their teammates, so watching that part of the growth in them as individuals has been really important as well,” Johnson said.

Many of the employees with disabilities at the Crickler Vending Company are supported by the Arc of Monroe through the Job Path program. In the region, the Arc of Monroe supports over 400 individuals with a variety of disabilities from developmental disabilities to Autism spectrum disorders.

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