Thursday, August 15, 2013

People with disabilities want to say: "I have a Job!"

"This business is an Equal Opportunity Employer".  That very statement is music to the ears of someone who is looking for a job.  Looking to spread their wings by being responsible for themselves as they make the transition from a being a child to an adult.  People with disabilities want to be seen as everyone else and having a job is just as much a desire for them as someone without a disability.

Employment equals Empowerment for people with disabilities, and many people have hopped on that train (for which we are ever grateful!!) to see that it continues to happen.  Gone are the days when people with disabilities are not employed, or working in a sheltered workshop was the only option. They are being integrated, accepted and embraced more and more, as people who can offer a great deal to their employers and co-workers!

Why should I hire people with disabilities? may ask.  There is a warm fuzzy side to the story that can be told.  You, as the employer, are contributing to their emotional well-being, their self-confidence, and breaking the barriers of what people with disabilities are perceived to be able to do.  Fantastic, really!  What's more fun?  Let's take the warm fuzzy feeling side of the story out of the equation for just a minute and look at the facts.  Whether you are a self-employed business owner or are managing a business for someone else, you, as the boss, need and want employees that will uphold your standards, provide good customer service, good work ethic, etc.... You may chime in: They can be hard to find!  Yes, they can be hard to find, but, people with disabilities quite often meet all those qualifications!  No kidding!  They are individuals who are committed and dedicated to their jobs, love to be part of the team and actively giving back to their communities...... What's better than that?  I'll tell ya: NOTHING!!

As with any anticipation of reaching a long awaited goal, there are always hurdles to get around!  One of the biggest hurdles for those with disabilities is transportation.  Transportation?  That's the easy part, you may laughingly say to yourself.  What if, though, their car breaks down or they don't have the money at the moment to buy a car... Take the bus! you say without hesitation... What if the bus doesn't run their route until after they have to be at work?  Several situations can rear their ugly heads making it a struggle to think about doing it one day, let alone several days in a row!  But, with determination, the individual can find a way to work if they continue to look.  Maybe a friend or relative can take them to work.  Many times people are willing to help, if asked.  As the employer, you may be able to suggest viable options, as well.  Taking a genuine interest in this regard goes a long way!

Would you like to know of some businesses who are shining because they made the decision to hire people with disabilities?  The Arc of Indiana had the privilege of recognizing people who were described as the "top of the building block" in hiring people with disabilities.  They were presented with the Keystone Award!  Congratulations to Walgreens of Kokomo, Turkey Run Inn, Bits and Bites of Evansville,  Community Access Television Service out of Bloomington and Nathaniel Butell, a photographer out of Columbia City!!  My warmest congratulations go out to all of you!!!

What's your definition of success?  Hiring people with disabilities who will work hard and bring their attitude of striving for their best, is one of the stepping stones needed.  Won't you please consider hiring them?  I promise, adding them as part of your team will be the greatest success you will ever experience!!

Being part of a team.....having a job = SUCCESS!! :)

Michelle Fischer is the host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Bloggers Note: This blog was written from notes taken after the interview on Employment. :)

Listen to the my full interview will Jill Ginn,  Rebecca Scherpelz and Melody Cooper from the Arc of Indiana at this link:

If you are interested in working and interning in a government position you will want to check out this podcast show on the INTERN program Listen here to Emily's experience with the program and what she's doing now!

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