CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -A local family is breaking barriers for their son with special needs. It’s because, in Ohio, there’s disappointing news when it comes to employment for people with disabilities in the state.
Harrison Chmura, from Cuyahoga County, is 9-years-old. He has down syndrome and autism. He’s also non- verbal and uses an I-pad to communicate.
“He has a ton of energy. He’s this burst of energy everywhere he goes,” said his mom, Tera.
Harrison’s parents wanted to ensure a successful future for their son with special needs, but they had their concerns and for good reason.
Ohio ranks about 30th in the nation for employing people with disabilities. Latest statistics show only 37 percent of people in Ohio who are disabled are employed. Two other states tie with Ohio’s rankings, according to data from Cornell University’s online resource for U.S. Disability Statistics.
“We kind of took it upon ourselves where it was our responsibility as his parents to make sure he has a future,” Tera said.
Ohio also ranks lower than the national average at 37.3 percent for employing people with disabilities.
“For a kiddo like him whose nonverbal, it gets a little trickier. Sometimes people just don’t know how to talk to him.”
They stats gained the attention of Governor Mike DeWine.
In a document about disability employment, DeWine stated:
Almost as soon as stepping into office, he signed an executive order designating services and reviews of hiring practices for businesses across the state.
Harrison’s parents know, they couldn’t wait for him to turn 22, which working age for someone with special needs.
“We need to start when he’s young. He’s going to take 10 years to be able to master the end skill,” Tera explained.
That’s where H-Bomb ties was born. The entire Chmura family is involved in the business. From picking out ties, to placing orders, packing up, and even delivering the ties. Tera and her husband John are also marketing the ties on social media.
A Youtube video, narrated by Harrison’s sister, is gaining lots of attention.
So why a bow-tie business?
“He’s always been a bow-tie guy,” Tera joked. “All the male staff at his school started to wear bow-ties with him.”
Harrison’s skills are already shining in the family business.
“He’ll help put stuff in the bag. He likes to pick out the one we showcase for the week,” Tera said.
His parents know, many elements are a work in progress.
Nationwide, of the nearly 18 percent of people with disabilities who are employed, many will lose their jobs in the first year.
“Right now, we’re trying to do the personal deliveries and sometimes he does really well and sometimes he gets really confused,” said Tera.
With H-Bomb ties, Harrison’s parents can work with his school directly to develop training plans and future skills.
“We’re coordinating together. How should we set up the inventory process for him to go and be able to retrieve a tie,” explained Tera.
Many others like Harrison may not get those opportunities.
Part of Governor DeWine’s order states:
Harrison’s family hopes their business will inspire others to adopt those same ethics and their goal isn’t just to help Harrison’s future.
“We’d like to be able to employ other people with special needs, just like him. We’re kind of each other’s life lines in the special needs world,” Tera said.
H-Bomb ties is also doing special orders for wedding parties.
For more about H-Bomb ties and how you can place an order, click here.
Click here to learn more about how Ohio’s state agency, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities can help train your workplace and provide resources to both businesses and individuals with disabilities.