According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35% of adults in Arkansas have some type of disability. That’s more than one million people – people with a variety of skills and talents to offer local business and the people they serve.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, celebrating the contributions of workers with disabilities.

In Arkansas, a number of companies actively support inclusion and the hiring of Arkansans with all abilities. Goodwill Industries of Arkansas works closely with companies like Kroger and Pride Industries to provide them opportunities to succeed in the workplace.

Pride Industries Team in Little RockPride Industries currently employs nine men and women referred by Goodwill. It’s a national company serving government offices, federal agencies, military bases and more. They offer integrated facilities management, custodial and environmental services and supply chain management.

“PRIDE understands the value of hiring people with disabilities,” said Michael Ziegler, CEO of PRIDE Industries. “When communities come together for the greater good, everyone wins – businesses find dedicated employees, and individuals with disabilities find meaningful work and independence.”

Pride Industries in Little Rock hires individuals with disabilities to perform environmental services for the federal building and the federal courthouse.

Trent Thomas began working for the company this summer, and he’s done so well he is already being trained to take a Team Lead position.

While many clients are employed at businesses around the state, some find their new careers right here at Goodwill. Austin Collins began Goodwill’s Supported Employment program in August of 2017.Goodwill Employee Austin Collins

From the beginning, he wanted help finding a job at a Goodwill store. He and Job Coach Kaylee Hinson worked together on interview skills, hard/soft skills and putting together a resume so he could begin applying for jobs.

After two months, Austin gained a retail store associate position and continues to do a great job.