How New Business-to-Business Initiatives Helped Greenleaf Job Training Services Drive New Revenue Sources

Oct 12, 2017 | First Person

By Jennifer Kuntz, founder and CEO, Greenleaf Job Training Services

The enemy of innovation is complacency. As business owners, it’s easy to become comfortable in the tried and true. Sometimes, though, it takes pushing past the expected to discover an opportunity.

Greenleaf Job Training Services’ primary role is to help people with disabilities find and keep employment. As the founder and CEO of Greenleaf, I am immensely proud that we’ve placed thousands of people with disabilities in jobs over the past 22 years and that our staff has grown from one employee to 32, up from 25 employees just a year ago.

Despite our incredible success, we are always looking for ways in which our Greenleaf team can diversify and expand our offerings. This year, we launched three new business-to-business service offerings that play off of our strengths by allowing our job coaches and job developers to help new audiences with the same expertise they use to help people with disabilities.

Consultative Services

Greenleaf has a tried-and-true process for serving people with disabilities. Consultative Services was born from the realization that some employers need advice from an expert on how to hire and work with a person with a disability. The program educates companies on the ease and benefits of hiring someone with a disability and guides staff on how best to interact with a coworker with a disability. I have seen firsthand how this program gives employees the confidence to improve relationships with colleagues while clearing up unhelpful stereotypes.

Soft Skills Services

Low unemployment rates are pushing employers to compete for talent, and many are struggling to fill job openings. Through networking with other business owners, I learned that many business owners were struggling with employees who were not up to speed on soft skills — organization, time management, budgeting and customer service. At the same time, I recognized that the type of work skills our team teaches people with disabilities could be used by other businesses who need their employees to be fully engaged at work.

I’ve always been a teacher at heart, and I relished the opportunity to develop a program that positively affects employee behavior and habits. We don’t just go in, teach the skills and then leave. We remain a resource, answering questions and offering alternatives if one solution isn’t working.

B2B HR Assistance

What happens when an employee sustains an injury or illness that prevents him or her from doing a job he or she once performed with ease? Unfortunately, it happens, and often the same company might have openings that the employee, with a newly acquired disability, could do. Greenleaf’s new program works with human resources departments within a company to help these employees identify, apply and train for new roles within the company.

For example, Greenleaf job coaches have worked with a local hospital system’s HR department to help valued associates update their resumes, apply for openings and practice for interviews. When an employee finds a new position, our coaches help him or her learn the new tasks required of the assignment. It’s very rewarding to work with employers who are truly dedicated to helping their employees thrive, despite difficult circumstances.

Coming up with an innovative idea doesn’t have to be complicated. Often it just takes a little creativity to brainstorm tweaks to existing business models. Rather than rely on past successes, we pushed ourselves to find new opportunities for Greenleaf, always abiding by the philosophy behind a quote of our namesake John Greenleaf Whittier: “I’ll lift you and you lift me, and we’ll both ascend together.”

About the Author

Jennifer Kuntz is a NAWBO-Columbus member and a 2006 NAWBO Visionary. In September 2017, she was named to the Smart Business 2017 Class of Smart 50 Leaders in Columbus, Ohio, for her innovative efforts to identify new revenue sources for her company. She serves on the board of the Ohio chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First and is a member of Women for Economic and Leadership Development, the Women Presidents’ Organization and Vistage, an organization dedicated to leadership development.



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