The ideal workplace & workforce are diverse, inclusive, equitable, and accessible. Diverse means that it involves people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, and abilities. Inclusive means that it does not exclude or discriminate against anyone.
Equitable when they treat males and females, Caucasians, African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos, equality. Accessible when they welcome employees with disabilities and provide reasonable accommodations in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
One of the multiple services LIFTT provides the Montana population with disabilities is seeking and finding employment. Among hundreds of success stories about disability inclusion through employment, is Richard Delagarza, a 58-year-old Caucasian-Hispanic male, dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), loss of hearing, hypertension, hepatitis, arthritis, depression, ADHD, dyslexia, and a head injury.
His number one goal was to find employment and be able to provide for himself and his family. LIFTT helped Richard apply for SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid benefits and assisted him in finding more permanent housing. Once he was settled, Richard began to feel more hopeful and optimistic about his future and believed that good things were about to happen. He felt motivated to look for a job. LIFTT referred him to a job opportunity with a local hotel in Glendive, MT, he applied and was hired to work as a housekeeper. After a few weeks in that position, his employer promoted him to trainer. After feeling secure in his employment, Richard felt he was finally part of society, and felt confident about moving from the hotel room he was living in, into his own place.
Employment is important not only because of the wages but because it empowers the person to live independently, and find purpose and meaning in their lives. It includes them in society and instills feelings of dignity and self-worth encouraging them to grow as individuals who are part of something bigger than themselves. LIFTT strongly encourages employers to give opportunities to citizens with disabilities seeking employment. They are intelligent, hardworking, innovative, and creative because they are used to seeking and finding solutions for the problems they face daily. These employees are a priceless asset to any organization.