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Thomas Hooker Brewing Company: Crafting Inclusion of Employees with Disabilities

Employer Case Study: Learn how a partnership helped a local brewing company meet its workforce needs.

Thomas Hooker Brewery

Organization

Thomas Hooker Brewery

Number of Employees

20

Website

https://hookerbeer.com

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At the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company—a craft beer brewery in Bloomfield, CT—employees with disabilities are an integral and productive part of the workforce. And the company credits community partnerships with much of its success on the diversity and inclusion front.

Over the past few years, the brewery has benefitted from a recruitment partnership with Oak Hill, a service provider that offers a range of services, including job placement, for people with disabilities throughout Connecticut. Oak Hill helps Thomas Hooker fill positions with qualified individuals with disabilities, and the relationship has yielded excellent results that are a true “win-win.” The company benefits from the work of great employees with disabilities, while the workers themselves experience life-changing employment opportunities. 

The employees sourced through Oak Hill are engaged in meaningful work, performing integral business tasks for the company. In addition to training them on their specific job tasks, Thomas Hooker also educates its employees on effective ways of working together, while reinforcing the values of independent living.

According to the brewery, Disability:IN Connecticut was a valuable source of information and support regarding best practices for recruiting, hiring and retaining individuals with disabilities. One of the key benefits of membership in the organization is peer support, and since Thomas Hooker enjoys showcasing how its program works, Disability:IN Connecticut has offered the brewery opportunities to share its program with local companies. In fact, Thomas Hooker has hosted events to encourage other local businesses to learn about integrating people with disabilities into their workforces and the benefits of doing so.

Throughout the knowledge-sharing process, Thomas Hooker’s leaders say they have gained just as much as they’ve shared, learning numerous best practices from their peers. 

“As businesses, we all share the same challenges around finding great employees,” says Curt A. Cameron, Thomas Hooker Brewing Company’s president and CEO. “So having a forum where we can share best practices is invaluable. Words can’t explain how proud I am of our partnership with our Oak Hill team members, and how they have become an integral part of not only our operation, but also the culture of our company."