tv Small Business Owners Testify on Employing Workers with Developmental... CSPAN May 20, 2016 4:37am-5:10am EDT
i apologize for telling everybody it would be 45 minutes and tended up being a lot longer than that. so please accept our apologies. and i'd now like to turn to the ranking member for five minutes. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me first thank all of the witnesses for your moving, touching testimonies. i just went to the floor, as you
know, to vote, and every member who was participating in the hearing were commenting how an incredible experience. and it is not every day that we have the opportunity to make a positive contribution in making sure that we open the door of opportunity for everyone in america. so thank you so very much. mr. anandan, one of the common misconceptions about hiring individuals with disabilities is the need for costly accommodations in the workplace. can you elaborate on the actions ultra took to accommodate its workforce? >> of course. so as a startup we don't have the ability to do costly anything. we run a lean company and a profitable business. a lot of the things we've put in place i would argue are things
that any business should do to be more efficient. so we have communication tools we use and communication rules we put in place that take a lot of the unwritten rules in a workplace that can be confusing and inefficient for anyone and make them explicit. so for example, at ultra if you say don't e-mail the client directly unless it's important and if you do keep it short, well, what is important? and what is short? and is it really worth anyone's time to spend minutes or hours trying to figure out what that is? so at ultra an e-mail has to be 700 characters or less. no more than three bullet points. and if it takes two iterations to resolve it, you should talk live. >> thank you. and can you elaborate on how the federal government can incentivize its larger contractors to utilize the diverse workforce and the talents of innovative small businesses like yours?
>> so as you know, section 503 of the rehabilitation act clays go includes a goal of 7% of a contractor's workforce being individuals with disabilities. that goal doesn't do a lot to support small businesses who are not likely to be government contractors. on the other hand, could serve as subcontractors. and yet small businesses are much more likely than large companies to be innovative and be proactive in employing individuals on the spectrum. so a change in policy that would allow a subcontractor's employees to count towards a large contractor's 7% goal could catalyze an entirely new ecosystem of small businesses employing people with disabilities, partnering with large contractors and ultimately doing better business and being better for society. >> thank you. miss goring, as you mentioned, your organization has hosted various programs including town halls and small business
accelerator to get the word out about employing those with asd. what were some of the biggest lessons you learned from these programs, and are there any takeaways that will be helpful as the committee looks into further non-traditional employees? it's off, your mike. >> we learned a couple of things. first we learned that you need to do what's best for the business and that it needs to make sense for the business and you lead with that, you lead with the quality of the product or the service that you're providing. and then the second piece can be that it happens to be a person with autism. but first and foremost, you lead with that. to that point, we found that many of the small businesses and entrepreneurs maybe didn't have as much business sense as they needed to. so we provided them with information about how they can build their business, how to make it a profitable business.
and then the third piece was to provide very specific training about what exactly the job entails, what outcomes you're looking for, and to break it down into small steps that are taught and then chained together. those are some of the things we found to be helpful. >> miss hogan, in your testimony you discussed how your company partners with local schools. can you elaborate on how partnering with school benefits both small businesses and individuals with disabilities seeking employment? >> so are you asking how -- what do we do to partner with these schools and how do we make this work? well, one thing that's really important to me is we bring the educators into our company and give them tours so that they can see the type of jobs that are out there that they need to go back to their schools to teach the skills. and so we have done this for
several of the schools that are involved with the transition schools. like from 18 to 22. you have transition-type schools students still learning unless they go to project search or something like that. what's important is that they came and see what we have so they can go back to the transition schools and teach the skills. >> yes, thank you. >> we're going to go the to a second round. i know mr. smith is coming to ask some questions. as i mentioned before, this is our leave town day. so, once votes are over, they scatter like scalded dag scaldef this place back to their district. how has employing individuals with autism impacted your
business bottom line and is there any advice that you might want to give to other businesses out there that might consider working with folks with autism? >> so, i would say we consider ourselves one thf best software testing companies in the world because of the team members we have. we've shown over and over again when we've been bench marked against competitors, on shore and off shore, wee've done better. within a week found 20% more bugs and issues than the partner they were working with. we won a project away from ibm and found 66% more bugs than the ibm team for a fortune 500 financial services company.
some have our team have the exact profile we're looking for to do software testing. and have the raw talent but also the perseverance, the ability to work with teams and we have managers that work with our teams who are veteran technologies that join our company to be part off a company that has purpose and emissions. so, we're able attract fantastic talent. >> in your testimony, you had mentioned what a great employee mike is and works hard and comes on time and everything else. but moste interestingly, it's hd a positive impact on other employees and made them better employees. and keeping ever abody employed and hiring more people. so, how has that been the case? are there stories or examples
where the quality of mike has m improved the quality of the other employees? >> i have brought with me some stories that several have written. >> go ahead. >> they're all amazing. and this one is very interesting to me because it has the perspective of someone who didn't know anything about the disability world. okay. so, he says my journey began three months ago when i started at my new company, contemporary cabinets east. i was assigned to the etch banner and mike was my co worker on the machine. hee he's my firs expoesher to down syndro syndrome. i was so excited about the opportunity presented to me. in my limited experiences with down syndrome, i've always found them to be gentual incredibly
big loving hearts. my ignorance is being erased. i have to say being around mike is one of the greatest joys i take from being at my job. he has earned my respect and affection. mike teaches me every day how to love more. his out look reminds me to appreciate the things and people in my life. his presence somehow frees me so i can be in the me that sometimes i'm afraid to be. i'm a happier person because of my friend mikey. >> that's excellent. thank you very much. i appreciate it. i have a minute and 15 seconds left in my time and two people i'd like to ask questions to. i'll start with you ms. goring and then you, ray. we didn't have time to ask a lot of questions. for 30 seconds, what would you like to tell us that you think we ought to know that might be
helpful to folks out there that might consider hiring folks with autism or down syndrome or any other disability? >> i think it's important to start early when they're still in school to work on some of the skills needed and do that out in the work place in the real environment as much as possible. >> thank you very much. and joe and ray. >> yes, basically i would say a similar thing as far as if they could -- a lot of people that have significant disabilities, their ability to work, working for someone in a job or owning a business, they will surprise you what they can do when they realize that it's theirs and that's the same with joe. we'd hoped he would come here where he's doing this for us . >> thank you very much. you stayed right in that time. excellent. and the gentleman from new
jersey, mr. smith, recognized for five minutes. >> thank you for convening this important and timely hearing. thank you for your -- what a team of people committed to expanding job opportunities and nobody creates more job opportunities than small business and it's timely for other reasons. the autism cares act enacted in 2014 in august of august 8th of 2014, as you know, the administration has been given a marching orders to look at every aspect, all the inventories of whart we what we're doing in every area for disabilities and autism. and they matriculate from minor states to adult, they lose education -- the challenges are almost overwhelming and we will get a capacity assessment on or before august 8th.
it will probably be late. all administrations are. and you're ahead of the game because small business will be -- i think the key role in that employment piece. i also would point out that gao is also undertaken a comprehensive study, assessment, unmet needs. that's who the first iteration of that, which will come out probably in two or three reports. will be in july. so, again, mr. chairman, you're ahead of the game. you're laying out -- your witnesses were extraordinary. i can't wait to taste the popcorn. i think like everyone here. but thank you so very much for this. and frankly, our other commities of congress to be following this lead in terms of how we position now for a -- an employment breakout. you know, there needs to be a radical transformation on our out dated and i think very
foolish views as to what people with disabilities, including people with autism can contribute. and i think the statement that was made by joe stephy about how his iep team had so utterly failed him with the low expectations game and said the worst disability quoting him is that of low expectations. and to that, thank you for the love you show for your son and that support. all of us need support teams, persons with disabilities need those support teams as well. and the quintessential example of a family who just gets behind their son lock, stock and barrel. i have a few couple of questions. many but i know there's a time limit. i had a hearing where we heard from sap who is in the process of hiring 650 people by 2020. they already have 100. and they made the exact same
points today and made so eloquently. part of their testimony was in spite of autism and because of autism and the very special skillset that is brought to the employment table, one of the things that was pointed out and perhaps -- distinguished witnesses could speak to it, there needs to be the interview methods, which very often are a barrier that needs to be overcome and if you could, to sneak accommodations issue. there was a very important study, the jan workplace accommodations study, updated in 2015. 58% of the accommodations cost absolutely nothing. it's a matter of will. political employment will on the part of hr and beyond that, only about $500. we're not talking about any kind of ownerous burden financially.
and the ability to do a job seemingly well and i would ask you if you could speak to the chambers working with you and nfib and sh of the other great groups, that ihaey have a very pt role to play as well. i know it's the educational piece but how do we get those who are creating these ieps to be much more knowledgeable about the very young person they're working with to say you can really dream and dream large and there's a whole path for you into the future. >> so, i think it starts with job sampling to start that early. small businesses are sometimes great opportunity to start that job sampling and you'd be surprised the preconceived notion s what you thought would be the right job for a person
aren't always true, but that you can learn what they're good at. in terms of the interview process, videos have been very, very helpful. so, you don't need have that oral exchange as much as you can show a video of the terrific work someone can do and in terms of accommodations, i think we've all seen some of the accommodations are no more than having a script in place for someone so they know exactly what to say when they pick up the phone. it would be writing out some of the rules that we take as sort of unwritten rules but if they're just laid out clearly, as ultratesting did, 700 characters. you couldn't get more clearer than that. those are the types of accommodations that don't cost anything but have tremendous dividends for everyone. >> so, first i'd like to say we don't see any of the changes we've made to how a business
works as accommodations. that's how we collaborate and we're collaborating across people who are very different strength said and it makes us better, more efficient. and i think if you take something like recruiting and resume tells you how good someone is at writing a resume. a firm handshake and eye contact maybe works for your job but has nothing to do with software testing. so, for companies to be disciplined and rigorous about what it is they're actually looking for and collect data that they're finding what they're getting versus letting our very natural human biases overridory assessment of what someone's capable of is critical. and we have a 95% success rate to out perform ibm. >> thank you very much. time expired. thank you very much. and i'd like to yield as much time as you'd like the consume
to the ranking member. >> one more question. i would like to ask ray, what advice will you give similarly situated individuals interested in starting their own business? >> at different times when we've spoke to groups, especially parents that have kids with special needs, we kind of put it in this way. you have a choice. you can sit on the couch and worry about what is going to happen to your child when you're gone and we all would agree worry takes energy. or you could take that same amount energy and put it towards an endeavor that can develop to be something that could go on far beyond you. and basically, that is kindf the message we have and also helping them look for resources to bring funds available to start in an endeavor that the child is interested in, not the adult
parents. >> so, you see a role for government to play? >> oh, yes. yes, i do. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. >> we want to thank this panel very much. for this testimony. sorry that you got interrupted by votes but it's an operational hazard around this place, especially on heading out of town day and i'd like to close by noting that somebody in the room happens to be my chief of staff and why don't you wave to them down there. stacey, you wouldn't know it, but stacey has ms, multiple sclerosis and i can't keep up with her, to be haonest with yo. she's great and she has a daughter who just turned 18 who has autism and her name's morgan and she's great. i met her for the first time a couple of days ago. always talk about her family. i been kidding her telling her
she made up this family when shy talks about her husband and kids but i know they exist because i saw morgan with my own eyes because her class was herer f fa capital tour and i took pictures and told them stuff and answered questions. i struggled to answer them but they were wonderful. and she's tough. i'm scared of her, to be honest with you. but it's been a great hearing. i think all the members that were here and the ones that had to take off for their districts, we learned a lot. we will pass this on to our colleagues and thank you for being an inspiration to all of us and doing your jobs and doing them well and helping others to do their jobs and just have a better life. so, thank you so much and i would ask you to consent, that members have five legislative days to submit statements and
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