Partners Health Plan members are sharing their employment journey stories to elevate disability employment awareness. These stories describe the diverse experiences of people with disabilities and the employers that are benefiting from the dedication these talented individuals bring to their professional roles.
Did you know that one in four individuals in the U.S. have some type of disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? Did you know the employment rate for a New Yorker with a disability (age 18 – 64) is 31.2% compared to 72% for a person without a disability, resulting in a gap of 40.8% according to New York State (click here)? The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected many who have already faced significant barriers to employment, compounding their economic hardships.
We must use our voices and advocate for creating more accessible and inclusive workplaces by becoming informed on the value of hiring people with disabilities.
A person with a disability recently summed it up the best by stating, “my disabilities do not define me. My abilities do.”
Please join us in widening the lens by elevating awareness on what needs to be done to remove barriers in the workplace, so individuals who have a disability have the opportunity to access meaningful and well-paying jobs. Do you know an organization that is moving the dial on disability employment by removing barriers?
Margaret’s Employment Story
Meet Margaret! Partners Health Plan Member, Margaret, began working for the Department of Labor during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, after working for the Department of Transportation for many years. This is her employment story told by her dedicated Care Manager, Barbara!
What can I tell you about Margaret? She is joy personified and she lives her best life every day. Margaret recently turned 70 but she is evergreen. Margaret works 3 days a week at the NYS Department of Labor (DOL), where she does a fantastic job. Margaret was brave enough to start her job at the DOL during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She was not worried. In fact, she was excited to work more hours and have a set schedule. Margaret is proud of her job and has a phenomenal work ethic and independence. She doesn’t allow herself to be held back and always exceeds expectations. Margaret enthusiastically approaches each task with a spring in her step and a smile on her face.
Prior to COVID, Margaret worked with an entire crew at the Department of Transportation (DOT) in Garden City for many years, so when she began at the DOL, she had to learn new skills, including how to maneuver a commercial Rubbermaid cleaners’ cart in and out of a small elevator before the door shuts, and in and out of small office doors. Margaret also had to learn what products and supplies were necessary to do the job. Once her job coach shadowed her throughout the day, now she only meets with him at the end of her shift to go home. Margaret has a big smile every day that reflects the pride and sense of accomplishment she feels about herself and the job.
Margaret also knows that her job is important and that she needs to maintain her focus throughout the day. She is well aware of her need to continually practice COVID protocols while she is at work. She understands the importance of remaining safe while she cleans high-touch surfaces, in high-traffic areas. No matter what, Margaret is unfailingly friendly and polite. She knows to always knock on doors when entering offices and conference rooms. Margaret appreciates the other employees and has stated that they are always nice to her. However, she enjoys when she can work alone, where she can be found cleaning while she sings and dances to her theme song, the Donna Summer classic, “She Works Hard for the Money” and if you ask her about her job, she’ll tell you: “I don’t just like my job, I Iove my job.”