SCV Mayor’s Committee promotes disability employment awareness  

Founder and CEO of 6 Degrees HR Consulting Selina Thomas shares her expertise on how important and beneficial it can be to hire people with different backgrounds and skill sets that will lead to success on Thursday at the SCV Mayor’s Committee Brunch. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Founder and CEO of 6 Degrees HR Consulting Selina Thomas shares her expertise on how important and beneficial it can be to hire people with different backgrounds and skill sets that will lead to success on Thursday at the SCV Mayor’s Committee Brunch. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
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The Santa Clarita Mayors Committee held an employer brunch workshop on the topic of employment of individuals with disabilities to share with local business owners and community members the importance of diversity and the benefits of hiring individuals with special needs on Thursday at the Santa Clarita Activities Center.  

Five speakers were invited to share their professional perspectives on how local business owners and personnel can successfully hire individuals with special needs and maintain high-quality performance in the workplace for all employees.  

The five guests invited to speak were: Selina Thomas, founder and CEO of 6 Degrees HR Consulting; Ruth Janka, former executive director of the North Los Angeles County Regional Center; Pacific Lock Co. CEO and President Greg Waugh; Albertsons/Vons General Manager Commy Sadra; and Pet Supplies Plus General Manager Nikki Karlsson.  

All five speakers aimed at sharing a blueprint for filling positions with long-term, hardworking individuals who meet diversity, equality and inclusion requirements and increasing company morale. 

Thomas opened the conversation by sharing her outlook on how to hire individuals based on their skill sets, and how businesses could successfully create job opportunities with keywords in job descriptions inclusive for all people.  

Local business owners and affiliates attended the  SCV Mayor’s Committee Brunch on Thursday to learn more about the positives of hiring individuals with disabilities. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Local business owners and affiliates attended the SCV Mayor’s Committee Brunch on Thursday to learn more about the positives of hiring individuals with disabilities. Katherine Quezada/The Signal

“There is an advantage in skill-based hiring, and that we are not doing cookie-cutter job descriptions … we are looking at the population and meeting them where they are, and adjusting how we approach their ability to bring value to the company,” said Thomas.  

“Diversity is just not in the metrics in the socioeconomic backgrounds. It’s not just in the ethnicity that you hire. Diversity is also in the workforce skill level, in the workforce experiences.”  

She advised those in attendance to help define job descriptions together with other parties they may be working with to make it an applicable description to the population that they are currently using in the workplace.  

Janka shared the history of integrated employment such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, prohibiting discrimination based on disabilities, and how it created grant funding for those individuals, and its effectiveness ever since.  

“What that tells you is the support that existed that was created by our history and continues to exist today to support individuals with developmental disabilities on competitive employment,” said Janka. “Developmental disabilities does not mean unable — it means differently abled.”  

Former NLACRC Executive Director Ruth Janka advocates for individuals with disabilities and shares that they are capable of being exceptional workers if given the chance on Thursday at the SCV Mayor’s Committee Brunch.
Former NLACRC Executive Director Ruth Janka advocates for individuals with disabilities and shares that they are capable of being exceptional workers if given the chance on Thursday at the SCV Mayor’s Committee Brunch.

Waugh shared how he has implemented employment coaches to successfully hire 10 individuals with disabilities out of his 40 employees in his local business since its founding in 2009. The company creates all sorts of security locks.  

“They [individuals with disabilities] really are the best workers in the right scenario. There’s no question about it. I’ve been doing it now for 15 years without question,” said Waugh. “My employees with disabilities are hardworking, dedicated and focused.”  

His employees with disabilities are always eager to learn, and never perform poorly in the work environment, he added. He advocated for the local businesses present during the brunch to hire employment coaches who will teach individuals with disabilities how exactly they want the work done, and they will succeed with the appropriate resources and belief in them. 

General managers for local businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley, Sadra and Karlsson, shared their testimonies on how great and positive it is to work with individuals with disabilities.  

They both said in their own accounts that with the proper support and resources, they are great employees who are eager to work.  

City of Santa Clarita City Mayor Cameron Smyth thanks those in attendance at the SCV Mayor’s Committee Brunch to promote disability awareness in the workplace on Thursday morning. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
City of Santa Clarita City Mayor Cameron Smyth thanks those in attendance at the SCV Mayor’s Committee Brunch to promote disability awareness in the workplace on Thursday morning. Katherine Quezada/The Signal

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