In the two most recent issues of this newsletter, we've focused strongly on the collaborative aspects of developing and maximizing a robust talent pipeline, from building stronger, deeper relationships to making programming adjustments to address skills gaps for industries in your area. At our Disability Employment Awareness Month kickoff event in Tampa, we got to see firsthand what happens when collaboration works.
One of the indisputable high points of the celebration was a panel discussion featuring Mel McCray, an employee of the Dick's Sporting Goods Westshore store in Tampa, as well as Mel's general manager Robert Young and Steve Nyilas, senior employment specialist and job developer with The Grow Group. Mel, who lives with an invisible disability, shared his story of working with the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to ultimately achieve successful employment at his current job.
After initial difficulty finding an employer willing to hire or sometimes even interview him as a job candidate due to his condition, Mel worked with VR to discuss his skills and employment goals, and was then connected to The Grow Group for employment services. That connection, via a series of collaborative relationships, led Mel first to Steve as a service provider, and then to Robert as his eventual manager.
During the panel discussion, Mel encouraged fellow job seekers with disabilities not to give up on themselves: "Know that you can do the work. ... I've learned to take the 'D' off of 'disabled,' and when you do that you're left with 'is abled.' I'm able to do anything."
The whole conversation, but especially McCray's remarks, served as a tangible reminder that the collective work of our organization, VR and service providers like The Grow Group is so important at a human level. So with that in mind, we want to hear from you. If you have a success story like Mel's you'd like to share, click here to tell us all about it. We look forward to reading and sharing your contributions.
May this Disability Employment Awareness Month be one of the most productive and rewarding yet for your organizations!
Vice President, External Engagement