Employer Spotlight: Hats Off to Heinen’s
In June of this year, Best Buddies started what promises to be a long-term partnership with an up-scale grocery store, Heinen’s. Originated in Cleveland, Ohio in 1929, Heinen’s is a family-owned and operated store. Focused on the quality of their food and superior customer service, Heinen’s provides a grocery shopping experience that surpasses most. As a testament to their success, Heinen’s began opening locations in the Chicagoland area in 2012.
Our partnership with Heinen’s was made possible by Steve, a participant within the Best Buddies Jobs program who came to us eager and ready to work in a grocery store setting. It wasn’t long before Steve’s Employment Consultant identified an open position at Heinen’s and was able to bring Steve in for an interview. Now, four months later, Steve is a valued asset taking on one of the most crucial jobs in the store as a dish washer and working three days a week.
The Best Buddies Jobs program seeks to partner with employers dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. After learning about the experience and career goals of participants in the program, Employment Consultants conduct a job matching process. In order for matches to develop into sustainable and mutually-beneficial partnerships, it is crucial for the employer to support the professional development of individuals with intellectual and developmental (IDD) disabilities.
Since being established, the Jobs program in Chicago has successfully placed nearly 30 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities into competitive and integrated jobs.
It is companies like Heinen’s, and a work ethic like Steve’s, that allow Best Buddies to continue fighting for inclusion in the workplace. To learn more about the Best Buddies Jobs program in Chicago, contact Program Supervisor, Emma Zagar.