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A human resources director at a Philadelphia company had some concerns leading up to interviews with three job candidates with disabilities last year. But 18 months later, Karen Boyle, vice president of human resources at the Graham Co., realized how lucky she was to bring in these candidates. So reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Boyle ended up hiring Thomasina Justice for an administrative position. Justice had received help from Merakey, a nonprofit focused on people with disabilities. The Graham Co., a Center City brokerage, writes insurance for Merakey, while Graham vice chairman and Boyle’s boss, Mike Mitchell, sits on the board of Merakey’s charitable foundation. He asked her to tap the non-profit for potential candidates.

"What surprised me was how easy” it was to hire Justice, Boyle said. “The hardest thing has been making sure she doesn’t work too much” due to some restrictions. Justice gets support from the government for her disability. “Otherwise, it’s been no big deal. And Thomasina is just great.”

Other HR managers in the Delaware Valley also realize they don’t have to go at it alone when it comes to hiring people with disabilities. Agencies specifically help this population with job coaching, training, transportation assistance and other workplace-related issues to prepare them for meeting with potential employers.

"Our job coaches aren’t there to do the job, but rather to help the adult learn all of the responsibilities, leading them to be independent,” says Carrie Kontis, vice president for Intellectual Disabilities Services at the Barber National Institute. "It’s really a win-win: for the adult, who has this opportunity to have a job in their community, and for the employer, who has a very well-trained, loyal employee.”

Read the full article from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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