Access Marin - National Disability Employment Awareness Month Event

Uploaded by maringchannel on 19.10.2012

Becoming aware of disabilities in the workforce and in society offers us an
opportunity to learn more about the disability movement and
the extraordinary individuals who have contributed to its accomplishments.
When we talk about
people with disabilities
we have the "dis" in front of it,
meaning there are ability limitations.
And when we talk about people with disabilities
going into employment,
we instantly think, you know, people with disabilities have limitations to employment.
I'm the director of a department with
over seventeen hundred employees
I have eighty-five offices I oversee.
Thirty years ago nobody would ever have
thought somebody with a significant disability could run a large organization.
And now people run them all over the world.
I think we need a paradigm shift and to stop
thinking about limitations or liability
or the fear of hiring a person with a disability and look at assets
and what people with disabilities to bring can bring to the job --
their personal experience, their adaptability,
their problem-solving skills.
They have to manage their home care.
They might have to manage transportation.
All of these things are assets to employers.
When you look around at our communities,
now that people with disabilities can get out in the community,
you'll see people who are blind, you'll see people who are deaf, you'll will see people using wheelchairs.
And that's what the workplace should look like.
When we interact with people who are different than us,
we get a different perspective. We get more ingenuity.
Take ramps, for example. Ramps benefit everyone.
UPS drivers, they love our curb cuts!
They use them all the time because they have those carts to carry up.
It's not just for the person in a wheelchair. It's for the mom with the stroller.
It's for the older adult who uses a cane.
Everyone would prefer to take a ramp over some stairs.
Elevators ... another thing people appreciate in having a disability ...
many buildings now have elevators.
That was a contribution of people with disabilities, that access element.
There's are so many things because of the society
being more embracing of disabilities makes it easier for all of us.
I really feel like, when we talk about disability, it doesn't tell the full story
because we are all on a continuum of abilities.
The older you get, you're going to get a disability one way or the other.
If you don't have one in your fifties,
if you live to your nineties you are going to have multiple.
And I think that the more we look at "disability"
as part of the continuum,
the more inclusive a community we can become.