Sunday, November 7, 2010

Canadian writer wants employers to know people with disabilities are Perfectly Able

From Niagara This Week in Canada:

Individuals with disabilities are Perfectly Able.

Port Colborne-based writer Liz Seger (pictured) said nowadays its an attitude perception by employers that hiring a person with any disability can actually take away from a company financially and productivity speaking.

“There are a lot of myths out there,” said Seger, who contributed her experiences to the book, Perfectly Able, a guide edited by Jim Hasse which offers guidance to companies large and small on how to hire and retain talented and motivated people from an untapped pool of potential employees.

Seger said there are myths that hiring a person with disabilities would cost more money to companies in the long run because the employees will be away more because of their respective affliction.

“That’s not true at all,” said Seger. “We actually work more. But people think we are always a liability. Employers think people with disabilities are expendable. We are the last ones to get hired and the first to get fired. We’re here to prove otherwise.”

In Perfectly Able, Seger, who has a visual impairment, described her experiences and challenges of finding employment and fitting into a workplace environment. Seger was told by the Dean of Education at the University of Western Ontario (where she studied education) while she passed all her courses, the school would not grant her a degree because “no school board would hire a blind person.”

In the book, Seger described how she successfully obtained her degree and worked in her chosen profession as an educator and writer.

“According to the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), 32 per cent of people with visual impairment or blind are employed. The remaining 68 per cent are not employed,” Seger said. “That’s a statistic that’s been the same since 1970s. That number is scary and will only increase.”

Seger said it took about three years to contribute to the book. Seger worked closely with the book’s editor, Hasse, who is the content developer of eSights Careers Network, a social networking website for visually or physically impaired job seekers, in which Seger is a member.

Readers of the book will discover how to evaluate the workplace environment to better suit the disabled, improve and sustaining workforce by hiring the best people regardless of any disability or diversity issue, and embrace the differences among the workforce to add value to the organization to name a few subjects.

Seger recently donated a copy of the book to the Port Colborne Public Library where its available to lend to patron. She hopes other libraries can pick up Perfectly Able as part of its collection.

For more information on the book, visit