Encouraging employers to consider hiring people with disabilities is part of a nationwide effort this month. Employment services is one of the many programs we offer at The Disability Network.
53-year-old Brian Thomas had trouble finding a job.
“They didn’t want to hire me because of my handicap,” said Brian
He’s also putting his past behind him.
“I got into an altercation it went further than it needed to go. I ended up getting shot and paralyzed. I went to prison. 24 years later I got out and started seeking employment,” Brian added.
Job hunting wasn’t easy. For years, he says he felt like he was shunned.
“It was humiliating. It almost forced me to stop looking,” said Brian
Brian says it wasn’t necessarily the money, he just wanted to do something productive.
“We recognize barriers and try to overcome those barriers,” said Employment Specialist, Amanda.
Amanda Banks is an employment specialist at the Disability Network. She says Brian had multiple barriers. So, he enrolled in a special program.
“He participated in Job Club sessions. We have a benefits planner here at the Disability Network. His name is Besh. And Besh determined how much money he could make and still keep his SSI benefits. We applied for several jobs and Meijer got him in,” added Amanda.
“Hello, Welcome to Meijer. Since I’ve been at Meijer I’m more open to talking to people. It’s been a beautiful experience,” said Brian
“It’s a feeling of accomplishment but also helping someone to overcome their barriers and see the value they can bring,” said Amanda.
People with disabilities can bring a lot to the table. Sometimes they are the company’s best employees.
“Not only do I make them smile, they make me smile,” concluded Brian.