October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an opportunity to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. In all honesty, NDEAM isn’t something that crossed my radar screen until few months ago. We moved our business to Charleston in May of this year, from Columbia, SC where we started Grey Ghost Bakery two years ago. Charleston is a beautiful, vibrant city but people warned me that finding employees might be tough. Our bakery isn’t close to area colleges (a sure source of workers when we were in Columbia) and Charleston’s tourist-related businesses offer attractive employment to many.
Shortly after we relocated, I was introduced to Doris Browder, of the Disabilities Board of Charleston County, and we started talking. Doris explained that her organization trains and places qualified employees who just happen to have special needs. After exploring the employer’s needs, the Disabilities Board screens their clients and matches the clients with companies who partner with them, aligning their clients’ skills with the employers’ needs.
Our partnership with the Charleston Disabilities Board has been a win-win situation for us. We have brought on two employees, Simona Tooley and Brian Palombo, who have become integral members of our team. As we head into our busy season of the year, we are delighted to know that we have qualified, trained employees who come to work, eager and ready for the cookie tasks of the day. Grey Ghost Bakery is a family business and it has been a joy to expand our sense of family here in Charleston.