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Finding Fair Work: Student With Disabilities Begins Own Business

‘I want to create a path for Nick and others to become more valued and accepted in their community,’ said owner’s mom

We all have hopes and dreams, especially when it comes to our careers. For local high school student Nick Hinze – one-half of the mother-son duo behind the local dog biscuit company Nick’s Dog Treats – those dreams extend even farther than himself and his small business. 

When Nick Hinze was 11 months old, he was diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. Jennifer Hinze, a strong advocate for her son, knew the path to employment for individuals with disabilities often isn’t an easy one. As a mother, she set out to combat the obstacles her son faced head on. But what blossomed from a love of baking dog treats for their furry family member has burst into something more. 

“My dream for this opportunity has surpassed just him,” Jennifer Hinze says, “and I want to create a path for Nick and others to become more valued and accepted in their community.” 

Through their hope of eventually obtaining a brick-and-mortar location for their growing business, the duo seek to create job opportunities for others with disabilities, starting with kids in high school who might need a few lines for their résumé. “After they graduate, they will have a place to come to work,” Jennifer Hinze says. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 19.3% of people with a disability are employed. This shockingly low number only becomes more shocking when you consider that many folks who are employed are paid a sub-minimum wage, or are only permitted to work a certain number of hours to qualify for financial assistance from the government. Employers justify paying these workers as little as three cents per hour by claiming they’re providing vocational training and jobs for those who otherwise never find one.

Nick and Jessica Hinze – knowing the unfair treatment in the business sector – decided to take matters into their own hands by starting their own business, which offers fair wages and ethical work opportunities for people with disabilities.  

Jennifer Hinze says it best: Everyone deserves to work and make a meaningful contribution. 


To check out the Hinzes’ creations, visit nicksdogtreats.com.

 

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