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Welcome to AskEARN’s new website. As we transition to our new site, you can still visit EARN’s previous site.

About EARN

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) offers information and resources to help employers recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; build inclusive workplace cultures; and meet diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals. 

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Getting Started

Start here to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities — and how EARN’s resources can help.

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    Phases of Employment

  • A man in a wheelchair looks at his phone while waiting for an interview

    Recruit

    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • A woman with a forearm crutch shakes hands with another person

    Hire

    Identify people who have the skills and attributes for the job.

  • A man looks on as a young woman with Down syndrome makes a coffee drink in a cafe

    Retain

    Keep talented employees with disabilities, including those who acquire them on the job.

  • Image of a woman illustrating how to perform a task to a man with down's syndrome.

    Advance

    Ensure that employees with disabilities have equal opportunities for advancement.

News & Events

EARN makes it easy to stay up-to-date on disability employment news and information. Start by subscribing to our e-blasts and monthly e-newsletter, which will connect you to upcoming events, developing news and promising practices in the world of disability diversity and inclusion. And don’t forget to follow EARN on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Volk Packaging Corporation: Making a Commitment to Disability Inclusion

Employer Case Study: Learn how a focus on individual needs helps to ensure success. 

Volk Packaging Corporation logo

Organization

Volk Packaging Corporation

Number of Employees

80

Website

https://volkboxes.com/

Related Content

employer case studies small business

Volk Packaging Corporation, a third generation family-owned corrugated box plant based in Biddeford, Maine, never set out to be an employer of people with disabilities. However, Volk’s inclusive workplace culture has led to the company’s employment of numerous people with disabilities, including workers who are deaf, blind and on the autism spectrum.

Part of Volk’s approach to inclusion is providing all employees the tools they need to do their job effectively. For employees with disabilities, this can mean reasonable accommodations or adjustments to the work environment. Volk has found that most of these accommodations are low cost or no cost, and very easy to implement. For example, Sue, a longtime employee with a hearing impairment, requires none aside from needing to be alerted by a colleague if a fire alarm is triggered. Another employee, Peter, works from home, requiring only an enlarged computer monitor to accommodate his visual impairment. Both Sue and Peter are productive, valued employees who add diverse perspectives to the corporation.

Volk’s commitment has its roots in a personal connection. Company owner Derek Volk’s 25-year-old son, Dylan, has autism. And while today Dylan is successfully working, he experienced many ups and downs throughout his career journey. “Every job that did not work out for Dylan could have easily been avoided,” says Derek. “It’s all about knowing what an individual needs to be successful, and for Dylan, that means clear instructions and frequent communication.”

Today, this focus on individual needs is something that Mr. Volk applies at Volk Packaging every day—for employees with and without disabilities alike. And it’s a message he communicates to others through his active participation in the Maine Business Leadership Network, and through speeches and presentations he delivers together with his son Dylan. “As the father of a son with autism, and as someone who knows the giant surplus of talented people on the autism spectrum who are transitioning to the world of work, I want all employers to prepare themselves for that opportunity,” says Volk.