WMU News

How workers with disabilities can benefit businesses

June 1, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Two Southwest Michigan entrepreneurs will discuss how businesses can benefit by hiring workers with disabilities at a Western Michigan University presentation Thursday, June 7.

Laura Mattioli and Jill Shaw, co-owners of Supportive Employment Opportunities, will present "The Disabled Workforce: A Resource for Businesses" from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kalamazoo County Chamber of Commerce building, 346 W. Michigan Ave. The program, part of a monthly series of workshops offered by WMU's Women's Business Development Center, is free and open to the public.

In their talk, Mattioli and Shaw will examine: the social and economic benefits of hiring disabled workers; tax incentives, apprentice programs and accommodations available from the state of Michigan for those who hire disabled workers; how managers should interact with disabled employees; and what happens if a placement doesn't work out, including discipline and termination options.

Shaw and Mattioli founded Supportive Employment Opportunities just over a year ago. Contracted by the state of Michigan, SEO serves as a liaison between workers with disabilities, employers and the state. Shaw has more than 15 years experience working with people who have disabilities. Mattioli earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology, and has a decade of experience working with the disabled. They are both Certified Employment Training Specialists through Michigan State University.

WMU's Haworth College of Business established the Women's Business Development Center in 1999 to offer support to female professionals and entrepreneurs through training, group and individual problem-solving consultation, current business information and networking opportunities.

Reservations are required. For more information or to reserve a seat, contact WBDC Director Pat Guenther at (616) 387-2714 or <patricia.guenther@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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