AskEARN | Case Study - Volk Packaging Corporation: Making a Commitment to Disability Inclusion Skip to main content

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. 

Getting Started

Start here to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; why workplace inclusion of people with disabilities matters; and how EARN’s resources can help.

A woman in a wheelchair addresses three colleagues around a small table

    Phases of Employment

  • A woman in a wheelchair shakes hands with a colleague


    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • Two men work at repairing an engine.


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

  • A woman with a disability wearing a helmet works in a factory


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

  • A man uses sign language to communicate.


    Ensure that employees with disabilities have equal opportunities for advancement.

Dinah Cohen Learning Center

EARN’s Learning Center offers a wide range of training resources, including self-paced online courses.

Woman using assistive technology on a computer workstation.

News & Events

EARN makes it easy to stay up-to-date on disability employment news and information. Start by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and eblasts, 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

A smiling man with an earpiece sits in a wheelchair

Volk Packaging Corporation: Making a Commitment to Disability Inclusion

Employer Case Study: Learn how a family-owned company created a diverse workplace culture that includes people with disabilities.

Volk Packaging Corporation logo


Volk Packaging Corporation

Number of Employees



Related Content

employer case studies small business

Volk Packaging Corporation, a third generation family-owned corrugated box plant based in Biddeford, ME, 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.