Supports and Services
The Hedgehog Concept is based on an ancient Greek parable that states, "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." In the business world, this means that organizations will more likely succeed if they can identify the thing that they do best and are most passionate about-and how this can drive their economic engine.
In this panel session, Shauna Lozada, Steve Towler, Salvador Moran, and Michele Shapiro of AHRC NYC's Employment & Business Services Department will discuss how they use their personal Hedgehog Concept to promote a customer service-focused dual mission: providing the best person-centered services possible to the individuals they serve, and driving positive change in the business community by creating and maintaining meaningful partnerships with hundreds of businesses throughout New York City--partnerships that create jobs for over 2,000 individuals with I/DD per year, making this the leading disability employment program in New York State.
The panel will also describe how they have created two innovative social enterprise companies-a secure document shredding service and a full-service janitorial company. Hiring workers with I/DD is not only a socially responsible initiative that changes these workers' lives for the better, but also a unique staffing solution that helps companies diversify their workforce. And when matched with an ideal position and a supportive employer, these workers can experience life-changing, long term success! The panel will explain how AHRC works with employers to carve customized jobs suited to the interests and skill sets of workers. Also, they will describe their unique job matching process, and the emphasis placed throughout its programming on individualized, person-centered service. The panel will also explain how AHRC supports workers on the job through such services as on-site job coaching and assistive technology.
The panel will also discuss the tools necessary to succeed in a major market like New York, and the advantages and challenges of running an employment program in the city where "if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere." Operating in New York provides AHRC with the opportunity to contract with such major companies as Barclays Center, Salesforce, and Etsy in the effort to create jobs for people with I/DD. In addition, AHRC's expertise in the field-its Hedgehog Concept-has recently led the organization to build a one-of-a-kind consulting business, as several partners have asked AHRC to collaborate as they seek to expand these successful employment programs to other regions.