November 10, 2015 --
The disability a person may have should not be the focus in the workplace. The important factor is all the abilities and knowledge they bring, according to Angelo Knox, disability program manager, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
“My disability is one part of who I am” was the theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrated last month, which reiterates that philosophy. According to Knox, federal government agencies are making strides in focusing on the vast abilities rather than disabilities a person may have.
“The federal government is leading the way on employing individuals with disabilities and providing better opportunities for training, education and awareness, he said. “However, there is still a long ways to go. We are doing a good job, but we have got more work to do.”
While Knox emphasized he diligently works on every awareness campaign, he revealed this one is personal for him.
“This hits home for me because I have a child with a disability,” Knox said.
This first-hand experience provided him with insight of resilience among disabled persons.
“(My son) is one of the most resilient people I have ever met,” Knox said.
He has found that same resilience with many disabled persons in the workforce.
Knox encourages those with disabilities to maintain that resiliency and be confident of ongoing efforts on the base to assist them.
“People like me who have a vested interest will take the lead on making sure that our employees and family members with disabilities will be given a level playing field,” he said.
Mitchell Bradshaw, IT specialist, MCLB Albany, uses a wheelchair and confirmed the installation is well equipped to accommodate his needs.
“As far as accessibility goes, they have been great,” he said. “When it comes to having ramps in place and my desk area they have never failed me.”
Bradshaw is just one example of the great value a person who may have a disability can bring to the base. Due to his contributions, Bradshaw was selected as MCLB Albany’s employee of the year in 2014.
Wil Santiago, deputy equal employment opportunity officer, MCLB Albany, said officials understand the value in hiring disabled individuals and the goal is to continue to employ them.
“We want you here and we will provide feedback, information and accommodations,” he said.
Santiago indicated he wants to ensure each person with a disability of any kind is aware help is available if needed.
For more information, call Knox at 229-639-5275.