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NEWS | May 9, 2024

Command event highlights the value of hiring people with disabilities

By Ben Hutto, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

The Spectrum of the Unique and Neurodiverse Employee Resource Group hosted a guest speaker from Trillium Employment Services in recognition Autism Awareness Month.

Lindsey Woodruff, program manager at Trillium, discussed inclusivity, helping workers with disabilities find purpose and the value of hiring people with disabilities.

“I was really happy to not just see members of our group there, but we also had supervisors log in on TEAMS to watch,” said Jacquelynne Rase, ERG lead Shop 31, Inside Machinist. “It blew my mind, honestly. It was good to see leaders showing support.”

While the event was well attended in person and on TEAMs, both Rase and her co-lead, Christopher Mckay, Code 130, Quality Assurance, have noticed more supervisors, managers and shift leaders reaching out to get support for the men and women they work with that may face different challenges than them.

“This group was formed around finding acceptance,” said Mckay. “It’s good to see people hearing what we are saying and wanting to help their teammates. People are helping others find reasonable accommodations through technology and tools. Its OK that people have differences as long as we're all getting to the same place together.”

Mckay and Rase both understand that helping their fellow workers with cognitive differences involves a variety of resources and groups working together to help create an environment where everyone contributes.

Programs like the Department of the Navy Civilian Employee Assistance Program and Command Counseling offer help and counseling to workers that need assistance navigating challenges in the workplace. In addition, Rase mentioned that the shipyard Mentor Program has been a good resource for workers looking for co-workers to help them on a more personal level.

Training is available to anyone interested in helping out through Waypoints and Command University.

SOUND ERG members meet the 4th Thursday of the month, 11:15 a.m.-noon, in the Building 431 Superintendent’s Conference Room (mezzanine).