Three UPS executives: (left to right) Jim Liggett, Employee Relations Manager; Mel Smith, Human Relations Manager, Baltimore District; and Ron Foster, Vice President for Public Affairs Abilities Count ********** From the Editor: The following excerpt is part of an article that appeared in the October, 1998, issue of Inside UPS, a publication of the United Parcel Service. We reprint the portion devoted to the National Federation of the Blind's JOB Program. Here it is: ********** The Challenge Was Before Them
All that stood between the National Federation of the Blind and a much-needed $500,000 grant from the Department of Labor was a corporate sponsor willing to consider hiring qualified blind candidates. The question was what corporation would be the first to step up to the plate and make such a commitment?
Failure, at least according to Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, Federation Director of Special Programs, was not an option. The Federation aimed to recruit "job ready" blind individuals from across the country and provide them with additional training in adaptive technology, enabling them to be fully integrated into the work force.
"There's no doubt in my mind," Dr Zaborowski emphasizes, "that through technology and training, blindness can be reduced to a mere inconvenience."
Nor was there doubt in the minds of UPS people who agreed wholeheartedly to support the Federation's efforts and identify job opportunities, guaranteeing grant approval. "We're pretty excited about the possibilities," she says.
UPS is no less excited. Its partnership with the Federation of the Blind isn't just a one-time gesture of kindness, but part of the company's ongoing commitment to ensuring diversity among its work force. "We've tried to get away from the thought process of limitations," comments Fred Fernandez, UPS Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. "UPS prefers focusing on abilities, the skill sets individuals bring to the table, instead of disabilities." ********** A Clear Message
Fred believes that focusing on abilities has helped employees of all ages, races, and abilities work better together. "When people realize what they can accomplish when they work together, I think they learn not only to value themselves more but to value others. I think our policies regarding diversity also send a clear message that opportunity exists for every UPS employee." **********