By Jenna Wingate, Farmers Insurance

Being a small business owner has its rewards and challenges. I think the one challenge that I did not necessarily account for is finding employees that care about your business and customer base as much as you do. I know I am not alone when I say, finding employees that that you can rely on, trust to accomplish tasks on your behalf, show up every day and have a good attitude is actually much more difficult and exhausting than one would think.

I had a friend working with the Johnson County Developmental Support program that came to me 3 years ago and presented hiring through this program. I made my first hire, Donna Wear, as my paperwork specialist in April 2019. As time went on and COVID made the hiring scene a little more difficult, I reached back out. I asked about the possibilities of more hires for different roles. This was the best decision I have made on the hiring front. I cannot express the change in atmosphere, the weight lifted from my office manager and my shoulders and the pride running through my office staff in what we do. 

To further the reach, I have one staff member, Alex Arambula, that aspires to be a leader and example to prove what can be accomplished to his community and peers. I have been a member of Caring for Kids since 2016 and reached out to my sponsored school, Rosehill Elementary School, and inquired for opportunities. Alex made his first video explaining what Autism means to him, obstacles he runs into and what he has been able to accomplish since being employed with us. The purpose of the video was to spread awareness and reach students that can identify with Alex. 

My biggest giveback I can provide on this is to promote this program to my fellow small business owners to pave more roads and create more leaders, both workforce examples and employers, to advocate for our special needs community.