Like many of us, Jenny Howell commutes from her home in Hillsboro to her job as a Cashier at the recently opened Carina’s Bakery in downtown Beaverton. Jenny loves greeting customers, taking orders, stocking products, washing dishes and cleaning tables; all with her cheerful demeanor and smile as sweet as the vegan, Swedish treats she proudly serves. You might be surprised to learn that Jenny has been blind since birth and you might wonder how she effectively accomplishes these tasks. Your perception of her ability to do this job may be based on assumptions, on unconscious bias or pre-conceived judgements. It’s ok. It’s normal, we all have them to some degree; even if we don’t acknowledge them.
A blind Cashier may challenge your perception, however with minor adjustments and workplace accommodations, most anything can be accomplished. Something as simple as a bell on the door and Braille labels placed in front of the vegan baked goods help Jenny greet, identify and fulfill the customer’s orders. Other accommodations may include technology such as a voice-activated Point-of-Sale system or screen magnification software. These types of accommodations are often available at no cost to the employer through the coordinated efforts of agencies like Dirkse CC and local Vocational Rehabilitation services such as The Oregon Commission for The Blind, as was the case for Jenny at Carina’s Bakery.
So how can we change the perception of ability in the workplace and especially toward individuals with disabilities? Here are a few ideas:
Join in the discussion – With our Dirkse CC Training Team as they present the next FREE, “Brown Bag” workshop on Thursday, April 26th, 11-1pm. We will focus on self-awareness of disability bias in the workplace with interactive, practical applications. Registration is required:
Attend Amplify Success Rock Stars – Thursday, May 31st @ Embassy Suites by Hilton, Portland-Washington Square. You will be Empowered, Educated and Inspired by employers and individuals who have “Amped Up” their disability diversity initiatives.
Get involved in the cultural movement – Consider working with your local Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation office and Oregon Employment First who will connect you with agencies like Dirkse CC to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities in your workplace. We are here to help you see the abilities in people and to look beyond the disability. We want to help reduce the myths, fears and biases that may impact your hiring and retention of this untapped workforce.
Let us help you change your perception of ability so that you too can become “Rock Stars” and amplify your workplace with inclusion for all.
We are here for you; to assist you and your business/organization with your disability diversity initiatives in 2018. Because we believe:
Disability inclusion matters
It benefits business
It benefits us all.