Bateman Senior Meals: Partnering for Success
Key Factors to Bateman’s Success
- Understanding the value of partnerships with schools
- Working closely with school staff to support youth
- Demonstrating a commitment to hiring good employees with disabilities
- Providing students the opportunity to train and learn new skills
- Developing long-term partnerships with employers
- Offering work-based learning programs for their students
- Encouraging employers to hire graduates from the program
Greg Schumacher of Bateman Senior Meals in Nashville encourages other employers to look beyond any reluctance they might have in hiring people with disabilities. Speaking from his own experience, Greg says, “What I’ve learned from hiring people with disabilities is that they can do a job just as well as anybody else can. They come to work on time and they do everything that you ask them to do without any headaches, and they’re very self-sufficient once they’re trained.” Greg clearly sees the benefits.
Through Bateman’s partnership with Metro Nashville’s Community Based Transition Program (CBTP), Greg and his staff welcome students with intellectual and developmental disabilities several times a week into their facility. These students are assigned various tasks. For example, one student is a dishwasher and helps prepare freezer meals. Another student bags a high volume of bread each day. Early work experiences such as these are crucial to the employment success of young people after graduation. In fact, Greg has already hired two former students as paid employees. On their first day of work, these employees were already well trained to do their job because of their hands-on experience in CBTP.
The students are continually learning new skills and mastering increasingly complex tasks. Greg advises other employers to invest in training and support through bringing in job coaches or partnering with school programs such as CBTP. Although his employees with disabilities work efficiently and independently once trained, job coaches often provide support for the first few weeks on the job. For example, the students from the CBTP are always accompanied by their teacher and two job coaches. Sure Greg gains valuable employees. But he also stresses, “I believe the reason to hire people with disabilities is to give them a chance to be successful in life, to be able to do a job for a company and be successful and earn a good living.”