One of my first jobs during college was working as a janitor cleaning offices. I was a very hard worker and proud of what I did. I woke up early, took my job seriously and spent many hours on my feet. That is why I can relate to John Weaver, a Goodwill program participant, who currently works under an AbilityOne contract at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Every day, he wakes up at 3:30 a.m. so he can catch a bus and be to work by 6 a.m., and he says he doesn't want to miss a day. John and his team clean 125 buildings. He has been doing this important work for as long as he can remember and he finds his job rewarding because he is helping his country. He likes to see the smiles on the Cadets' faces and appreciates the "thank yous" they give him daily.
John is an asset to the workplace. His talent has no boundaries, as demonstrated through the many awards he has received for his spotless work. John's disability doesn't hinder him from living his life to its fullest potential. In addition to his current job role, he and his wife volunteer extensively within their local community of Colorado Springs, CO, and he recently purchased his own condo.
A growing segment of the population, nearly one in six Americans, has a disability. That is why I am urging employers to consider the unique talents, perspectives and contributions that people with disabilities bring to the workplace. It makes good business sense to hire people with disabilities because your business and organization will benefit. If above average records of job performance, safety records and dependability are important, then you'll get them by hiring someone with a disability.
Without the AbilityOne contract provided by Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs, John would have encountered difficulties finding a job. AbilityOne is the largest provider of employment for people with disabilities. A new bill, H.R. 5983, was recently introduced to Congress to modernize the AbilityOne Program. If you feel strongly about supporting this legislation and providing employment for people with disabilities, write your local Congressman.
To learn more about Goodwill's career training and employment programs, visit www.goodwill.org or call (800) 741-0186.