Smart Employers See Ability

There is a series of three photos dating back to the late 1970s or early 1980s showing a young woman who received her first paycheck from working in one of our day service sites. I love the photos.

The joy she shows can’t help but make a person smile.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Once hired and trained, people with disabilities often make great employees. I know of a few who have 15 or even 30 years in the same job.

Almost all of us find some form of meaning in work. It may be as simple as being able to receive a paycheck that helps pay the bills to support oneself. Or maybe, like many who work at Mosaic, the meaning comes from serving others to help them have a better life.

People with disabilities are no different.

They seek work because that’s something they value. Being able to make money for themselves in a job has a lot of meaning for them. People also value their relationships with colleagues. That’s why the woman shows such joy in those photos at receiving her first paycheck.

There are employers who have made a point of hiring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When someone with a disability helps me at the grocery store or provides service in a restaurant, I always feel better about doing business there. If I see a manager, I will also say, “thank you for employing people with disabilities.” I see the employers as partners in Mosaic’s mission, helping people lead lives that give them meaning.

Help me reinforce that message this month with the places you find that employ people with a disability. Take time to notice, and if you can, say a thank you to a manager or owner. 

And if you are a person responsible for hiring, think about hiring someone with a disability. Many are just waiting for a chance to show you their abilities.

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