Howdy Homemade on a mission to help those with developmental disabilities
As anyone in the working world knows, landing that first job can be one of the highest hurdles on the path to a successful career.
When you factor in immutable obstacles such as intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), the endeavor seems so much more daunting.
In fact, a 2021 survey by National Core Indicators shows only 16% of working-age adults supported by state IDD agencies were employed in paid jobs within their communities.
Howdy Homemade founder Tom Landis understands the challenges faced by so many in the modern workforce and continues finding ways to do something about them.
With eight scoop shops and a presence in an array of grocery stores across the country, Howdy Homemade is quickly becoming one of the most recognizable names in the ice cream industry.
In its mission to craft amazing ice cream served by amazing people, this company is providing employment opportunities for those within the IDD community.
And with a new entity, Howdy Homemade Charitable Foundation, the aim is to provide funding for even more job creation.
“It’s really an exciting time in a lot of ways,” Landis said. “We feel like what we’ve done is create some interesting ways to foster inclusion and generate jobs. A lot of those jobs are what I would consider the most important ones. That first foot in the door.”
Whether it’s in the franchise shops, factories, on the retail side doing sampling, or even at the Texas State Fair, Howdy Homemade is not only providing a diverse range of employment opportunities, but it’s also providing a path for self-improvement, personal growth, and career development.
“We all have strengths and weaknesses,” Landis said. “And we’re really trying to find out how to tap into an individual’s strengths. It’s so fun to see our employees really grow in their positions and in what they’re able to do. A few weeks ago, we had a pitch with Publix and instead of doing it myself, we had one of our employees, ‘Boss Man’ Brandt, lead it. Within the first four minutes of his speaking, it was clear we won. These are the things that just make it all so incredible.”
As the company and mission expand, Howdy Homemade has enlisted the expertise of influential restaurateurs including Bob Sambol, founder of Bob’s Steak & Chop House.
“Being employed provides structure, confidence, and a sense of pride for individuals with special needs,” Sambol said.
As for the future, Landis is sure of two things.
“We’re going to continue to pioneer these opportunities,” he said. “And in the end, we’re going to make the world a place both for our employees and for the communities we go to work in every day.”