Workforce Diversity Includes Disability
If you've ever seen a poster or brochure about topics such as child safety seats or drunk driving prevention, you might already be familiar with Kenny Allen's work. A graphic designer in Washington, D.C., Kenny is part of a prolific team that produces publications, websites and other materials to promote road safety.
Kenny works for a Federal contractor to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. His employer a minority-owned business that graduated from the Small Business Administration's 8a Business Development Program for small, disadvantaged businesses is expressly committed to diversity in its workforce, and Kenny is one reflection of this core value.
Although often thought of in terms of race or ethnicity, diversity actually encompasses a wide range of individual differences, including disability. This intersection is the premise behind Add Us In, a U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) initiative that aims to assist small businesses including the rapidly increasing number of those owned by diverse individuals to employ people with disabilities.
Kenny, who has osteogenesis imperfecta and uses crutches to walk, didn't originally envision a career in graphic arts, although he did enjoy drawing as a child. After earning a degree in business, he first worked in database design. He later “lucked” into a position in graphics, and it ended up offering a good way to mesh his technical and creative interests, he says. Ever since, it's been his employers who have gotten lucky with a skilled, dedicated employee who adds to the diverse range of viewpoints they need to succeed.
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