Monday, February 2, 2015

Hiring People with Disabilities

This is not the usual kind of post for me. My goal is to reach English and liberal arts majors at Niagara University who are preparing for a fulfilling life of work. I want to help you find that work, that life. So if you're part of my major audience, then this may seem like an odd thing to ask. Here is my request:

  • If (when) some day you find yourself in a position to hire someone else... or maybe you are in a position to influence who gets hired... please remember this article.

It's a piece written by Jerry McGill, who was a young Black man in Brooklyn in the 1970s. By stupid coincidence, he was paralyzed from the waist down when he was 13. He uses a wheelchair.

He describes how his life was changed 30 years ago when somebody gave him a chance to work at a job in a dermatology office--sorting slides, answering phones, and being a go-fer. 

Over the years, he has worked as a "customer service representative, a case manager for homeless youth, an actor in commercials and films and a production manager and writer for a theater company." He has written books. He has lived (and continues to live) a rich and fulfilling life.

Disabled does not mean incapable. Hiring people with disabilities is good business.

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