Jared Daly is the Regional Coordinator of Workforce Development at the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and the founder of the Employment Collaborative of Cuyahoga County. He is also this month’s Disability Warrior for Liner Legal! He has focused on helping businesses employ people with disabilities- giving the business good employees, and those with disabilities independence. Read more about Jared and the Employment Collaborative of Cuyahoga County below!

The Interview

KN: Tell me about your position at the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

JD: In this role, I help local businesses implement disability hiring initiatives. To better support the business community, I founded and now facilitate the Employment Collaborative of Cuyahoga County (ECCC). The facilitation includes sharing information to all of the partners to assist businesses to hire individuals with disabilities, hosting hiring events, holding fundraisers, and creating trainings for both businesses and service providers that are ECCC partners to encourage diversity and inclusion. 

KN: Tell me about your education and background.

JD: I went to Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio where I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. I am currently working to obtain my Master’s Degree in Business Psychology. 

KN: Why did you want to enter your field?

JD: When I initially started college, I wanted to go into Law Enforcement. However, over time, I realized I would prefer to be more proactive in engaging with the community. It became clear to me that the Social Services system was where potential interventions could prevent people from ever entering the Criminal Justice System. I thought that helping people to access meaningful employment and careers would be a great way to help them gain independence. This would also make it less likely that they would find themselves in the criminal justice system at all.  

KN: Tell me about your career.

JD: I started at Goodwill Industries immediately after graduating from college and was working one on one with people with disabilities to help them gain employment. After working there for two years, I was fortunate to be offered a job at the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities doing similar work helping individual job seekers find work. After a few years of focusing on assisting job seekers find employment, I shifted my focus to helping employers find qualified and talented employees. This shift in focus leads to the creation of the Employment Collaborative of Cuyahoga County.

KN: Why did you start the Employment Collaborative of Cuyahoga County?

JD: While I was out in the community assisting job seekers in finding work, I would talk to numerous employers that were excited and interested in hiring people with disabilities. Unfortunately, I didn’t always have a great candidate for them due to the limited number of candidates I was serving. Also, those I was serving were not always a good fit for the job openings. It was frustrating to know we had local employers with hiring needs that expressed interest in being inclusive of employees with disabilities and no job seekers with disabilities to send to them.  

I knew there were thousands of people with disabilities in the Cleveland area looking for work, but that I was only working with a handful. I thought if I could bring together all of the staff in the area supporting job seekers with disabilities, then we could create an aggregated pool of all potential candidates with disabilities that a local business could easily access. I started pulling together local agencies that were supporting job seekers so that we could create a network to share information about local employers hiring quickly and efficiently. Over a few years, the group grew from a few partners to over 60 organizations.  This gave us a great talent pool to tap into for local employers looking to diversify their workplaces. 

KN: Tell me about other community organizations, boards, and advocacy work you are involved with. 

JD: In my work to connect and engage with businesses, I was able to join The Cleveland Society for Human Resources Management (CSHRM). I wasn’t specifically in HR, but I interacted with so many hiring managers and HR departments that it was really important for me to learn as much as I could about the HR community. I was fortunate enough to be offered a volunteer position on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Special Interest Group.  In that role, I could bring my expertise about disability inclusion to the forefront. After a few years of volunteering on that committee, I was asked to serve as the Vice President for the DE&I group. This involvement has progressed to a point where I am currently the President-Elect of Cleveland SHRM.

KN: What is the most rewarding part of what you do day to day, at work and otherwise?

JD: The best part of my job is that the work truly is a win, win effort. It’s a win for all stakeholders. As I shifted my focus to helping local businesses as the primary customer, it was obvious that job postings going unfilled had a negative economic impact on those businesses. When we can help a local company hire someone with a disability, the research shows that those new employees with disabilities are as productive and as safe on the job as their peers without disabilities. Couple that with research that shows people with disabilities stay in their jobs longer than those without disabilities and you see why businesses that are disability inclusion champions have higher revenues and profits than those that are not. 

Not only does this work clearly benefit the business community, but it is also a great way for people with disabilities to become financially independent and socially included. Having a meaningful job lets people with disabilities bring in income that can help them live independently, participate in social activities and events, as well as making friends, and building relationships with their co-workers. It’s great to do work that positively impacts both the business community and people with disabilities.

Moreover, this work benefits the community by creating a more inclusive culture, while being fiscally responsible. Assisting someone with a disability in gaining employment often diverts them from tax-funded programs that would be needed to provide activities for that person if they were not working. Freeing up this support can therefore be utilized for other individuals with more needs. Employment for people with disabilities is truly a win for everyone and that is my favorite part of the job: knowing so many people are benefiting from the work.

About the Employment Collaborative of Cuyahoga County

KN: Tell me about the Employment Collaborative of Cuyahoga County and how people can get help.

JD: The ECCC is a collaborative of over 60 schools, government organizations, non-profits, and other entities that all work together to create an easily accessible talent pool of job seekers with disabilities and other barriers to employment for local businesses.

If you are a business that needs qualified candidates, you can reach out to us at https://www.employmentcollaborative.com/contact.html. You will be assigned a staff member to work one on one with you to help recruit, interview, onboard, train and retain qualified candidates with disabilities or other barriers to employment. 

If you are a person with a disability that needs assistance finding employment there are a few options to get support. To start, you can contact these agencies:

Cuyahoga County Board of DD – https://cuyahogabdd.org/

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities – https://ood.ohio.gov/ 

KN How has the global pandemic impacted your life at work, positively or negatively?

JD: We have seen companies that are now facing a talent shortage be more open to new ideas and sources of talent. Businesses are starting to realize that people with disabilities can really meet their needs and help their company increase productivity, revenue, and profit. Since the start of the pandemic, we have helped over 150 businesses hire 275 employees. 

Being a Disability Warrior

KN: What does it mean to be a disability warrior to you?

JD: Disability warriors should fight to include everyone in all aspects of society both where they can live, play, and work.

KN: What makes you a Disability Warrior?

JD: I always have high expectations for people with disabilities and continue to fight everywhere to advocate that people with disabilities can live up to those expectations. I truly believe there is a place for everyone, especially when we focus on what someone’s strengths are and not so much on what someone isn’t good at or what they can’t do. 

Hiring people with disabilities isn’t about being charitable or kind. It is smart business!! Filling openings with productive, safe, and loyal employees is going to help the bottom line. If you are a company looking for employees or know someone that is looking for good employees, reach out to us at https://www.employmentcollaborative.com/

The Disability Warriors at Liner Legal fight for our clients every day! If you are in need of Medina disability attorneys, Warren OH disability lawyers, or Cleveland OH disability benefits- call the Best Akron Disability Lawyers and the best disability law firm in Ohio- Liner Legal! Click here to contact us today.