The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region has awarded GXO Logistics, Inc., in Aberdeen with the Employer of the Year Award. The award was given to the company because of its commitment to competitive employment opportunities and creating an inclusive workplace for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to a statement from The Arc.
“We’re honored to be named ‘Employer of the Year’ by The Arc,” said Maryclaire Hammond, chief human resources officer of GXO. “The group’s inspirational work has benefitted the community immensely and we’re fortunate to be a part of it. Our team does an outstanding job of welcoming these new team members and helping them become full contributors in our operations. We’re looking forward to expanding our involvement with this exceptional program to our other sites throughout the rest of the country.”
GXO hired three employees from The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region program in 2020 and added a fourth in 2021. All are material handlers, working in carton forming, replenishment and inbound/receiving.
“They truly have the philosophy of an inclusive work environment and they are constantly trying to find ways to employ people with differing abilities,” said Joseph Hughes, director of employment services for The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region. “They see the value of people with differing abilities, and they embrace it.”
After interviewing these three employees, GXO hired all of them on the spot because they were very productive and eager to work to the point their differing abilities were an after thought, said Matthew Schmidt, vice president of GXO’s public relations.
Along with helping their clients find employment, job coaches from The Arc visit the employees twice each month to check on progress and to offer general support.
“In each area there are supervisors, leads and other coworkers,” said Marsha Depo, The Arc NCR employment coach. “Each station is filled with natural supports that work alongside, guide and help when needed. Everyone seems to understand, support and enjoy our partnership.”
During their employment, job coaches have watched these employees grow and gain confidence as they go, Depo said.
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“Recently, I worked 10 shifts with one of the new employees as part of her support,” Depo said. “Her confidence has soared from day one. She went from ‘I do not think I can do this,’ to ‘I am the best and I want to learn new positions within the warehouse.’”
Going forward, GXO plans to use this partnership with The Arc to expand to other Arc chapters across Maryland, Hughes said.
“They want to look at other locations of GXOs and partner with other Arcs,” Hughes said. “What they want to do is kind of utilize us and our initial partnership here to create a template.”