Tuesdays at Ten: ToyotaTown

May 05, 2015

John Rossini, Service Director with ToyotaTown, joined us on May 5, 2015 to discuss the employment of persons with disabilities. ToyotaTown values all employees and successfully hires by putting ability first in the workplace.

It benefits us as a business, as well as the employee. It also benefits the existing employees in learning that we all can work together.

John Rossini standing in front of a car in the showroom at ToyotaTown

ToyotaTown works closely with their Partner in Employment, Community Living London, who provides candidates, on the job training, follow up and other resources all free of charge. Sheila Appleton, Employment Specialist with Community Living London says:

“Three and a half years ago, ToyotaTown opened their doors to Community Living London’s Employment Services and hired an individual who is Deaf as a Car Wash Attendant. This job has made a tremendous impact on the individual’s life. The staff has been very welcoming and has shown support and encouragement to help ensure success of this opportunity. Their commitment to accessibility is incorporated into all components of their business operations; the relationships with their staff and customers and their involvement in the community at large. Customers have expressed satisfaction with the positive environment and unique perspective that ToyotaTown has developed a workplace, where all members are valued.
Several of this employee’s colleagues have been taking various levels of American Sign Language in order to communicate more effectively, beginning with the American Sign Language class offered through Community Living London’s augmentative & alternative communication team. 
ToyotaTown of London is recognized by Toyota Canada as a “Pride” dealer for the last 5 consecutive years. This places ToyotaTown among the “best of the best” as this award reflects measurements such as customer satisfaction, sales volumes and customer retention.  They are a valued community partner who promotes inclusion and recognizes the significant contributions people with a disability can make in the labor market.”

Read through our conversation with John Rossini of ToyotaTown in the transcript below.

Twitter Transcript: 

Ability First: Good morning & welcome to #Tuesat10. This morning we're talking with John Rossini, Service Director at @ToyotaTown. John, can you tell us a little about @ToyotaTown?

ToyotaTown: We're a 58,000 square foot automotive retail facility representing Toyota, Lexus, & Scion. #Tuesat10

Ability First: What’s something people may not know about @ToyotaTown? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: On the Toyota side, we have a 20 seat café with wifi. #Tuesat10

Ability First: An extra bonus to visit @ToyotaTown! How long have you been in business? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Since 1970. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Congratulations @ToyotaTown on 45 years in business in #LdnOnt! You also won quite a few awards along the way, yes? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Yes. We've been recognized by @ToyotaCanada President’s Pride award for the past 11 consecutive years. We've also won the @ToyotaCanada Pinnacle Award for the past 5 consecutive years. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Again, congratulations are in order! How many employees does @ToyotaTown have? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: We currently have 104 employees. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Why did @ToyotaTown first decide to hire someone with a disability? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: We were having high turnover with a particular position & finding good long term employees was tough. We were looking for someone who we could hire who would like to stay in this sort of position long term. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Did @ToyotaTown have any prior experience working with people with #disabilities? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Not that we knew of, but after our first hire there have been many others. #Tuesat10

Ability First: How did you go about finding the right person(s) for the job at @ToyotaTown? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: We worked with @CommLivLondon & @LEADSEmployment to see if there was anyone who had necessary skills to succeed #Tuesat10

Ability First: Also joining us is Sheila Appleton, @CommLivLondon Employment Specialist & one of @ToyotaTown's Partners in Employment. #Tuesat10

Community Living London: @ToyotaTown is a valued community partner who promotes inclusion and recognizes the significant contributions people with a #disability can make in the labor market. #Tuesat10

Ability First: What were your initial feelings and/or concerns with regard to hiring someone with a #disability? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: We were reluctant at first, thinking we may not have time or resources to support the employee. But @CommLivLondon was fantastic in supporting the employee. They did whatever was necessary to help us. We also have employees here that make extra effort to support the employee. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Are you able to give an example of how your @ToyotaTown employees work together to support each other? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: For example, one of our hearing employees went to school to learn sign language to help communicate. We now have two more employees who we are sending to school to learn sign language as well. #Tuesat10

Ability First: This is something we hear often from employers, how hiring people with #disabilities brings their team together. Can you describe one of the positions filled at @ToyotaTown? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Car Wash Attendant, with many details involved in role. #Tuesat10

Ability First: How has the employee that filled this position worked out for @ToyotaTown? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: He's been with us for almost 4 years & continues to be a valued employee. He always partakes in our employee events. From a business aspect, this is unheard of for this position. #Tuesat10

Ability First: It definitely sounds like a win-win scenario. Employers take note! #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Absolutely & on a personal note, he has helped show other employees that people with #disabilities are just as valuable to a business as those who do not have one. #Tuesat10

Ability First: How has working with someone with a #disability at @ToyotaTown addressed and/or changed some of your initial concerns? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: We have put in some extra work to ensure the employee has the tools he needs to succeed, but this amount of work is nothing compared to what he's given back to us from business & personal standpoint. #Tuesat10

Ability First: What are some of most common misconceptions other employers talk about when they learn you hire #PWD? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Amount of effort needed of the employer, managers, other employees to help them do their job. #Tuesat10

Ability First: And how do you address this misconception? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Once trained our employee perfectly capable of carrying out tasks & not afraid to ask for help when need be, this is the same as any employee would need to do. The key is finding a job that matches capabilities. Once you have that, there is no reason why people with #disabilities cannot succeed in the workplace. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Any other misconceptions about hiring people with #disabilities you would like to share? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Everyone knows cost of turnover. Our employees with #disabilities stay & have very little absenteeism. #Tuesat10

Ability First: How has @CommLivLondon worked with you as a Partner in Employment? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Fantastic! They make such a huge effort to help and support the people they represent and employer. If we ever have an issue or our employee needs additional training, they are here for as long as it takes. For example, we just got a new car wash. @CommLivLondon has been in everyday helping employee adjust. #Tuesat10

Community Living London: The @ToyotaTown staff has been welcoming & shown support/encouragement to help ensure success. #Tuesat10

Ability First: What is your advice for other employers @ToyotaTown? #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: You are crazy not to employ people with #disabilities. If you have a position that is suitable for someone or even if you can take some duties from several employees to free up their time, you should consider this. It's helped our business & employees get more involved in the community and events, like #NOH2015. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Please finish this sentence @ToyotaTown, “I hire for Ability First because...” #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Benefits us as a business, as well as the employee. Also benefits existing employees in learning we all can work together.

Community Living London: Customers have expressed satisfaction with @ToyotaTown's positive environment, where all members are valued. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Thank you so much for joining us this morning John & sharing your insights as an employer who hires #AbilityFirst #Tuesat10

ToyotaTown: Thank you for allowing us to help spread the word and hopefully get more people hired through @CommLivLondon #Tuesat10

Ability First:

Thank you Sheila Appleton & @CommLivLondon for taking part this morning as well. Visit them at http://www.cll.on.ca/services/employment-services #Tuesat10

Community Living London: Thank you @ToyotaTown for opportunity to partner with an employer who has created a culture of openness, trust and opportunity in the workplace. For raising awareness & inspiring possibilities #Tuesat10

Ability First: Support local businesses like @ToyotaTown that #PutTheAbilityFirst & help create inclusive community. Thanks for joining today! #Tuesat10

John Rossini & the team at ToyotaTown appear in this video by Community Living London.

We always appreciate those of you who join us for our live Tuesdays at Ten sessions, and welcome new voices to our discussions. We encourage you to ask questions, share your thoughts, and interact with our presenters. Please mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of every month at 10am as we continue to highlight various local businesses who successfully put ability first in the workplace.

We hope you’ll join us for our next Tuesdays at Ten, taking place on Tuesday June 2, 2015.

To review transcripts from past sessions please visit our Tuesdays at Ten archives.

Community Living London