What Inclusion in Hiring Really Looks Like
Two years ago, Sandbox's Chicago office needed an office assistant.
We reached out to Misericordia, a deeply rooted community of care that maximizes potential for persons with mild to profound intellectual and developmental disabilities, many of whom are also physically challenged. Through an innovative Misericordia program that matches residents with community-based employment opportunities, we were reintroduced to Maika Boswell.
Maika had previously worked with one of our Sandbox employees, and through their shared experiences, the two had developed a strong connection. That made it easy to connect the dots between Sandbox and Maika.
We knew Maika possessed all the qualities we needed for the position, but we also knew how eager she was for a meaningful employment opportunity and how she wanted to make an impactful contribution to the corporate world. With her positive attitude and tireless work ethic, she instantly won the rest of Sandbox over, and we haven't looked back since.
Beyond her contribution to Sandbox, Maika has learned valuable life and work skills. She learned how to use the Chicago public transportation system to get to our office in the heart of Chicago independently and on time. While supporting all members of the team, she has learned to navigate the three separate floors of the agency. Over the years, she has learned to communicate with the team through email and how to order office supplies from vendors.
Best of all, Maika is beloved by our staff.
Outside of work, Maika is a multisport athlete with the Special Olympics. Since Chicago is the birthplace of the Special Olympics and recently hosted the 50th anniversary of the inclusion movement, our agency team hosted a fundraiser to pay tribute to Maika's sporting accomplishments. With the funds raised, the Sandbox name will be enshrined on the newly erected Special Olympics "Eternal Flame" monument at Soldier Field.
It's collaborative efforts like these that instill purpose and inclusion in our workforce; team members feel a sense of pride and purpose in what they're doing and that they're doing something bigger than themselves.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Americans with disabilities have an unemployment rate of approximately 80 percent. Knowing that staggering statistic, we knew we wanted to help.
Diversity and inclusion come in many shapes and sizes. Championing opportunities for people like Maika sends a message to the workforce that when you have an open mind when hiring, you can create opportunities for a purposeful workplace. Through our own exceptional experience with Maika, we are working through new roles that can bring more people with disabilities into Sandbox.
We would love to see more companies open their doors and continue to shift minds on what makes the "ideal" candidate. Join us by making purpose the beacon that illuminates your decisions, your work and your path through life.