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Business Sense

Small Business Spotlight: Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

At the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company — a craft beer brewery in Bloomfield, Connecticut — employees with disabilities are an integral and productive part of the workforce. The company credits much of its success on the diversity and inclusion front to community partnerships, which are a proven strategy for building a pipeline of talented job candidates with disabilities.

Over the past five years, the brewery has benefitted from a winning recruitment partnership with Oak Hill, a service provider to people with disabilities throughout Connecticut. Oak Hill helps Thomas Hooker fill positions with qualified individuals with disabilities, and the relationship has yielded excellent results that are a true "win-win."  The company benefits from the work of great employees with disabilities, while the workers themselves experience life-changing employment opportunities.

The employees sourced through Oak Hill are engaged in meaningful work, performing integral business tasks for the company. In addition to training them on their specific job tasks, Thomas Hooker also educates its employees on effective ways of working together, while reinforcing the values of independent living.

"Words can't explain how proud I am of our partnership with our Oak Hill team members, and how they have become an integral part of not only our operation, but the culture of our company," says Curt A. Cameron, Thomas Hooker Brewing Company president and member of the Connecticut Business Leadership Network.

For more information on effective recruitment partnerships, and other promising practices, access Small Business and Disability Employment: Steps to Success, which provides practical guidance for small businesses on how to recruit and retain qualified people with disabilities.

Editor's Note: In our efforts to update small businesses on valuable disability employment resources and exemplary practices, "Business Sense" is launching a Small Business Spotlight feature. This is the first in a periodic series of issues showcasing the experiences of actual small businesses that are working to foster a disability-inclusive workplace culture. If you know of additional small businesses we should feature here, please tell us about them by contacting the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN).

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