Goodwill Industries International Marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Rockville, MD. – October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. With origins dating as far back as 1945, it marks the federal government’s effort to urge employers to consider the talents of all workers, including those with disabilities. For more than 100 years, Goodwill® has been providing job training programs and employment services in both the private and public sectors to people with disabilities. Goodwill marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month by educating employers and debunking myths about workers with disabilities.
“Hiring people with disabilities is good business,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. ”Employers should tap into this skilled labor pool for the benefit of what people with disabilities can do, and the value they bring to companies.”
Those people with disabilities include people like Anna Dunn, a Portland woman who lost control of her car on an icy Oregon road. After spending a month in a coma and undergoing two surgeries, Dunn now lives semi-independently in an apartment complex for people with head injuries. Walking with a prominent limp, her short- and long-term memory issues both frustrate and embarrass her. Yet, even after coming so far, she struggles to prove herself. When she started looking for her first job, she contacted 75 potential employers and interviewed with four. But no one hired her, except for Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette. Today she works in a superstore and she says she feels productive for the first time in nine years.
Or, Bob Theiss who came to work at Goodwill Industries of Dallas (TX) in October of 2007. Although quite shy and uncommunicative with people he didn’t know, he shared that he had lived with his mother for the first 50 years of his life and had very little contact with other people. Theiss has a developmental disability and has a number of other health issues including asthma, blindness and a brain tumor. In only one year at Goodwill, Theiss blossomed. Willing to try any new job, he has stocked items on the sales floor, tagged shoes and wares, and hung and sorted clothing, books and media. His confidence has grown, and his personality has changed from quiet and shy to talkative and outgoing. In fact, his favorite job now is working on the retail floor where he can interact with people.
Imagine life with the use of only two fingers. Imagine having limited hand usage, no income, living on the streets and trying to support a family, including three school-aged children. That was life for Paul Grant, who lost all but his two thumbs in a work-related accident. Thanks to his personal tenacity, perseverance and the services of Goodwill Industries of Chattanooga (TN), Paul is now a valued employee receiving rave reviews from the companies he works for. At Goodwill, Grant received work adjustment training, completed a job readiness program and is now the lead person on several contract cleaning projects.
To learn more about working with people with disabilities, visit our page discussing services for people with disabilities.