Sometimes you just have to take a chance. That's what a Nashville company decided recently when it hired dozens of employees with intellectual disabilities.
AIG is calling this Project Goodwill, and the company is Paying it 4Ward by giving a real job and a real chance to 33 people once considered to be unhirable.
The newly-hired employees will work on about 6 million stored files - all active policies perfectly organized.
"Those files are extremely thick. Just take patience, we'll get through it. You guys are doing great," supervisor Mike Burge told the workers.
Burge's gentle encouragement and patience comes from a unique understanding of the workers.
Each has a disability - developmental or intellectual - and Burge, himself, has high-functioning autism.
"I feel like I can relate to what they're going through and am glad that I can help them," he said.
Six months ago, the insurance company decided it was time to convert the paper files into a digital format. But they needed help removing staples for scanning and just getting the files together.
AIG called The Arc Davidson County, a non-profit agency focused on helping the disabled, and offered jobs to 33 men and women to help collate 6 million files in three years time.
"This is the first job they've ever had. They got into a groove working and being successful. It just shows you if you give them the chance, they can really do some good things," said Sheila Moore, CEO of The Arc.
The Arc believes these 33 workers now have job skills they can use in future employment.
"To them, it means a lot to have a job as an individual with a disability," Moore said.
The hope is that other companies will see what AIG did and discover the good work that Arc employees can provide.
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