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The Benefits of Unconventional Hiring Practices

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This story appears in the March 2013 issue of Start Up.

At Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld, make no mistake: Mike Crawford is the boss. With Down syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, he's a perfect fit for a position in quality control. "He tells everyone what to do," says company owner Aaron Muderick. "If a sticker is not straight or that cover is not on tight, he's going to pull it off the line and let you know."

While Crawford's challenges may set him apart in daily life, he is hardly alone at Crazy Aaron's. The Narberth, Penn.-based maker of Thinking Putty, a stress-relieving toy marketed to office workers, employs more than 500 mentally and physically challenged people across six Philadelphia-area vocational centers.

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