Employers Rarely Hire People With Disabilities. Here’s Why They Should [Insights]

Employers Rarely Hire People With Disabilities. Here’s Why They Should [Insights]


– I feel like it’s shooting to
the stars, having a job. -Maybe we can demonstrate to the
world that people with disabilities can perform as
well or better. – I have autism, learning
disability, and hearing loss. I have a mixture of all three,
which is pretty hard, but a good battle for life. -We’ll get some fresh air,
Jules. Julie has a genetic disorder. The hospital doctors told me if
she survived, she’d be a vegetable. She’s been through so much, and
still managed to be successful. What is that? -My high school graduation. Back in my school years were
really bad, because I have been bullied. I didn’t even know what they
didn’t like about me that made
them walk away. -Julie having a job is a dream
that we all never thought would
come true. – People with disabilities die a
death of a thousand cuts when it comes to getting a job. I was Walgreens’ chief supply
chain officer for 16 years, and my son Austin has autism. -You’re making me remember. -Well, you remember things well.
Sometimes we don’t. Austin didn’t talk ’til he was
10, but today he drives and
works. I underestimated Austin over and
over and over, and he surprised me again and
again and again. I came to the conclusion there
was a whole group of people out
there, probably, that could do the job
as well or better, that we were unjustly leaving
behind. What we did was hire 1,000
people with disabilities. Ten percent of our entire
workforce in the logistics
workforce. Earning the same pay; doing the
same jobs, side by side. The first building turned out to
be the most productive in the
history of our company. People with disabilities work
safer, retention is better, absenteeism is less. It’s simple as that. – I work at the Walgreens
distribution center, and I do SPS picking. They even have a nickname for me
— they call me “Speedy.” I can pick so fast that the machines can sometimes
end up breaking. [laughs] When I first started, I was very
nervous, because I didn’t know if I was entering
the past again. I felt like the minute I entered
the doors of Walgreens, the past flushed. -There’s a difference between
having an existence and having a
life. Julie just wants to fit in with
everybody else. – When I first walked into my
job, I didn’t realize love was coming
next, too. -Austin has few pleasures. One of his seasonal pleasures is
taking cattails that come in the
fall, and he likes to pull them apart
and watch the seeds float
around. I was forced to look past the
autism to see Austin. I think we have demonstrated
beyond a reasonable doubt that people with disabilities
can do the job. Try it. If it doesn’t work, what
did you really lose? It’ll take a lot more people
doing this, but if we can move the world
that millionth of an inch, it makes it all worthwhile. They just like you for who you
are, and it’s been a big change
to my life.

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