Expect. Employ. Empower.
That is the theme for 2104 National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual campaign sponsored each October by the U.S. Department of Labor. The effort is intended to raise awareness of the vast pool of talent within the population of people with disabilities and to focus on current disability employment issues.
It’s also a month to celebrate successful workers with disabilities and companies on the cutting edge of employment practice that hire them—like LEAP consumer Andrew, a recent aerospace engineering graduate of Case Western Reserve University, and a new employee at Consolidated Precision Products (CPP). CPP is a maker of castings and sub-assemblies for commercial aerospace and defense markets in Eastlake, Ohio.
Andrew came to LEAP because despite his degree, intelligence, and talent, his disability was making it hard for him to find appropriate employment. His employment specialist provided personal encouragement and helped Andrew improve his interviewing skills and understand workplace social interactions. The employment specialist also offered concrete information and solutions to CPP managers to allay their initial concerns about the process of hiring someone with a disability, working with job coaches, and providing needed accommodations, as well as about the financial and tax incentives for hiring people with disabilities.
Andrew started at CPP by completing a work assessment at the firm’s Eastlake manufacturing facility. This allowed time for him to adjust to CPP’s environment and gave CPP staff the opportunity to see Andrew’s skills in action and understand his disability. Andrew’s strong performance during the assessment led to an internship, which then resulted in an offer for full-time employment as a metallurgical lab assistant. In this position Andrew inspects samples for quality control through all stages of the firm’s production process. Andrew knows the quality of his work has improved over time and he’s motivated to keep standards high.
“I have gotten better with the inspections, and I like that I get to try new things sometimes,” he said.
Ken Kingston, CPP’s quality assurance manager, acknowledged that Andrew’s performance exceeded his expectations.
“Andrew has been a great asset to us. The metallurgical lab has been meeting deadlines better and with less stress since he joined us,” Kingston said.