About Lynn Wehrman of WeCo Accessibility Services
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I was the kid who always had the lemonade stand on our block. Eventually, I branched out into other lines of business (hot dogs and sandwiches) by scavenging my parent’s refrigerator. The desire to run some kind of enterprise has always seemed to be hard wired in me for some reason. But having dealt with a major mental illness in the first half of my life, I was always encouraged towards conventional employment to bring some stability to my life. It was in the midst of that “stability” when I was working for a state agency, that I realized my unhappiness in my work stemmed from not being able to use my full capabilities. Witnessing how other smart, educated people with disabilities were expected to sit on the sidelines, really lit a fire beneath me to start a business where all of us were accepted, and didn’t need to apologize for living our lives and doing our jobs differently.
How has being a certified DOBE helped your company grow and achieve success?
It’s only been a little over year since we received our designation, but I can tell you that being a DOBE with DisabilityIn has worked like an accelerator program for us. Firstly, it’s wonderful to see examples of other savvy entrepreneurs with disabilities succeeding in their fields. The support we’ve received from the DisabilityIn staff is also second to none.
But what’s really changed the game for us has been our mentorship with UKG. We were struggling with staffing up for expansion this summer, in large part to the very niche skill set we hire for that is so rare. In the past we have relied upon partnerships with state vocational placement agencies to locate candidates. But that resources is no longer available due to federal program changes. UKG’s guidance turned around our application process, and how we approach and attract candidates, in the space of a few weeks. Where we once had a handful of candidates for our accessibility roles, we have more than we can interview. We are now working with UKG on ensuring that the training content we’re writing for our new online training portal, expands beyond the basics and really engages our clients.