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Disabled But Employed, Or Employable: What Businesses Can Do To Break Down Barriers

| October 17, 2013

A matter of perspective. (Jen Rossey)

A matter of perspective. (Jen Rossey)

By Chet Bell

Congress has declared October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month to recognize the important role that meaningful work plays in the everyday life and recovery process of people with disabilities, and to further recognize the many contributions that people with disabilities make to our society.

Chet Bell

Chet Bell

Those of us who work on behalf and alongside individuals with disabilities know that they represent an incredible pool of talent and an amazing resource. As a provider of services to persons with mental illness and other disabilities, it is common for me to deal with the barriers that impede our ability to treat and rehabilitate these individuals. However, when I review our Enrichment Program and the services they provide in the Volusia/Flagler county area, I see results worthy of recognition.

When I visit Stewart Marchman Act’s Enrichment Program I am reminded that Americans with disabilities are an underutilized reservoir of ambition, talent and skill ready to make great contributions in the workplace. I see over 150 people in our Daytona and Palm Coast facilities overcoming their disabilities and producing quality work for our many contracted customers day in and day out. As these individuals grow in independence and self esteem they give back to their communities by providing needed services and return their disposable income through the goods and services they purchase. My highest accolades go to them for their commitment to self improvement.

The jobs and work they do are the result of opportunities provided by business people throughout the Volusia/Flagler area and surrounding counties. These businesses in turn have received timely, cost-effective, high quality valued-added services. State and federal entities also contract with the Enrichment Program for product assembly and janitorial and grounds keeping services, providing employment opportunities for many more individuals with disabilities.

All of us at some point in our lives have wished only for an opportunity to prove ourselves. Businesses providing that opportunity to our disabled workers deserve praise for making a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities.

Our state and federal legislators as well as the Volusia County Council, the Flagler County Commission and our municipalities also deserve praise for recognizing the needs of our disabled citizens and assisting with policy issues and financing when appropriate.

In the people advocacy business there is a tendency to echo the shortcoming or outrage of the day that fails some portion of our population. While employment barriers for persons with disabilities remain, this is the time to reflect on the gains these individuals have made in their lives and the role played by our community in making it possible.

Chet Bell is the CEO of Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare. To learn more, visit Enrichment Industries or call our Program Director, Carol Collins, at 386-236-3233.

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2 Responses for “Disabled But Employed, Or Employable: What Businesses Can Do To Break Down Barriers”

  1. Ben Dover says:

    Disability is a giant scam , I have three crushed disks in my neck that have me in so much pain I want to hang myself everyday , I have this pain because I can t work and afford to go to my dr or buy my meds if I did see a dr , disability keeps denying me because I`m not going to Drs every month , so if your disabled in this country and can t afford Dr appointments you can t have YOUR money they owe you, first thing my last advocates trying to get my disability did was a three way call , they asked disability how much money I have put into my account to this point and time , they said they would have to be giving me 1130.00 a month, because that`s what I paid in to date , aside from the three disks in neck that are crushing my spinal cord to the point my drs say I`m one good sneeze from a wheelchair, I have a torn left rotator cuff in shoulder , three herniated disks in lower back , degenerative disk decease, arthritis, stenosis, my left foot and ankle were run over by a forklift and if the forklift wasn`t heavy enough,… not to worry it had a 1200 lb roll of carpet it was carrying when it ran over foot , I have Lymes decease and am blind in my left eye and have very bad glaucoma in my good eye, have severe depression from being in constant pain, anxiety attacks and head aches from either Lymes or pinched nerves or pressure in my eyes from glaucoma all all of the above, they acknowledge I have all this wrong with me , but since I can t afford to see Drs regularly , they deny me , I used to read 2 or 3 books a week, have now ,for two yrs been trying to get through the first page of a book I read the first two in the series and loved , talking about Brother Odd from the Dean R Koontz ,Odd Thomas series , but the pain in my body and head won t let me retain the information, but they say I dont need my body to work I should be smart enough to find another job , if could get to my Dr get my meds and control my pain , I might be able to some easy job as long as I don t have to stand in one spot for more then 5 minutes , I do all my shopping at 2am so I don t have to wait in line , and as long as I dont sit in one spot for more then 30 minutes then my legs start getting shooting pain that breaks thru the constant numbness, not to mention my arms without my meds like Ive been for 3 months now feel like I hit my funny bone only theres no rubbing it to make it go away its constant, I sleep when I m, too exhausted to stay awake , then gotta lay on back with arms folded over chest like I`m in a coffin , but only get 15 to 30minutes sleep at a time the burning numbness in my arms and hands wake me up , and if I move out of that position I wake up in excruciating pain and anxiety because I put pressure on some nerve in my neck too long and it feels like I`m going to die for about an hr or so till it subsides, or I wake up choking on acid cause I have very bad reflux decease and without my meds from Drs have to try and get by with high doses of Advil or Aleve and it sends a hot boiling road of acid that explodes in my mouth as I try and get my 15 minutes in , my teeth are shot , gone from being ground all the time in pain and acid baths from taking meds my system can t handle, and Scott not extending medicaid in Florida makes the Affordable Health Care Act completely unavailable to me , with all this I still can t have my money , money I worked two and three jobs to accrue , they want me to commit suicide so they don t have to pay me , and the most messed up part is none of my injuries were my doing , it was faulty equipment at one job , a kid crossing the median and left lane to hit me head on , and some shyster jamming on their brakes on US 1 for no reason at all, with a partner blocking my access to left hand lane so I hit a tree at 60 mph, cause I chose the grass by Pax Trax instead of the back of their van , so if you saw a green jeep Cherokee , slam a tree flip and roll and land on drivers side door , then the blue van and silver Toyota pick up left the scene , left me trapped in my truck and took took off ……that was me , soooo many people scam ss disability , scam on pain meds and both make my life a living hell , but this is my 4th denial they know both my parents died at a yr ot two older then me , so I think they are just going for the trifecta , get away with all of us working our fingers to the bone so they can screw us at the end , its Bulls#%T!!!!! no company is going to hire a busted up 53 yr old over a 30 yr old person with no injuries , what they are doing is sick and cruel trying to wait me out , leaving me broke so I can t even afford my Dr or the meds to make my life bearable , greed is a decease in our government

  2. Daniel Caron says:

    Hello,

    Please help me find the ACT Enrichment person in Volusia county that can help me find work.

    My wife’s friend has a bipolar brother that works with the government funded work program.

    I was told he works some days and some other days he doesn’t work.

    It’s some sort of flexible work.

    Thank you.

    (I don’t have a phone, but I do have email)

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