As Director of Partnership Development, at Disability Solutions, I get the opportunity to meet great individuals across the country who are leading efforts to prove jobseekers with disabilities have the same abilities and strengths to be of great value to employers than those without disabilities. One of my favorite and successful partnerships has been with Tim Stump, the Vocational Rehabilitation Employer Liaison at the Arizona Department of Economic Security in Phoenix, Arizona.
Tim and I met in July of 2015 when we kicked off the Pepsi Achieving Changing Together (ACT) initiative in Phoenix and I was immediately drawn to his passion for his work and sense of humor. Since then, Tim has partnered with Disability Solutions, helping us hire over 20 talented jobseekers with disabilities at Pepsi, and another 28 at Synchrony. I will personally say Tim, his team and the countless community partners he works with have been great to work with.
In his role, Tim develops and oversees multiple programs that offer opportunities to connect jobseekers with disabilities to employers. “We have a lot of events here in Arizona, an Autism job fair, two DREAM disability job fairs, a DHH job fairs along with reverse job fairs,” says Tim. “We also have a monthly networking call with employers, our staff and community partners, and ongoing workshops with staff and community partners on disability and employment issues,” Tim adds.
As most know, jobseekers with disabilities struggle to find competitive employment across the county compared to those without disabilities. Tim and his team offer up some great programs for jobseekers and his advice to jobseekers is to have patience and perseverance. “It is currently a great environment for jobseekers, however, you still might have thirty plus or more applicants for each position, so it continues to be competitive. We have had a lot of success working with community partners such as our Re-Entry job fairs to establish opportunities to help the clients we have that have a disability and a legal history. I think in general, the more we work with community partners the more success we have, including working with the workforce.”
Tim does a great job building that bridge between community partners and jobseekers with employers with much success. “In Arizona, Peckham is an Ability One employer and has hired hundreds of people who have a disability to provide custom service for the United States Department of State. Synchrony is doing a great job hiring people in Phoenix. Many employers are reaching out to the disability community right now to increase the hiring of people who have a disability,” says Tim.ARIZONA@WORK job fair program provides resources, tips for individuals with autism
While the outlook has improved for jobseekers with disabilities, challenges remain that requires further education to both employers and jobseekers. A great majority of jobseekers with disabilities have a lack of recent work history, employment gaps or their experience may be PT or seasonal. Tim’s advice to employers is to be willing to overlook gaps in employment history. “Many jobseekers who have a disability do not wish to disclose because of the very real possibility of discrimination. And the gaps in their employment history, largely for disability related reasons, work against them when looking for employment.”
Despite the obstacles, Tim remains fully dedicated in his efforts to connect jobseekers and community partners to employers, while continuing to offer education on both ends. And when he’s not bridging the gap between employers and jobseekers, he enjoys collecting pinball machines in his free time. And similar to the multiple, innovative ideas and formats the pinball machine industry has seen over the years, Tim continues to try new approaches to reach his goals.
In my time working with him he’s been creative, flexible and always thinks of out of the box approaches to continue his efforts in helping those jobseekers with disabilities find their dream job. And as an added bonus, I never leave a conversation with Tim without a few good laughs as he has a terrific sense of humor. These fine qualities that Tim possesses, along with his personality, serves him well in communicating the talent value of people with disabilities – a value that is often misunderstood by employers.
If you’re an employer or community partner, no matter your location, I highly recommend getting on Tim’s distribution lists for a good laugh with valuable insights, and an opportunity to showcase your own business or organization. You won’t regret it. For more information about ARIZONA@WORK and the resources they provide in the great Phoenix, Arizona area, please see below for contact information along with a few related links to their programs and resources:
ARIZONA@WORK – http://www.arizonaatwork.com
ARIZONA@WORK Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ARIZONAatWORK/
ARIZONA@WORK Twitter – https://twitter.com/Arizona_at_Work
DHH transition youth job fair – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aAnMnAYzK4
Reverse Job Fair –