Access Living Celebrates Employment of People with Disabilities

Vatonna Dunn is a Development Associate at Access Living. With a hearing disability, she uses a phone amplifier to communicate with callers.
Staff Attorney Kim Borowicz has a vision disability. To read her computer screen, Kim uses Zoomtext Software.
Did you know that October is National Disability Employment Awareness month?

Access Living ensures that people with disabilities have equal access to all opportunities. In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we would like to highlight some of our staff and share a few ways to create a more inclusive workplace. Read below to learn more about workplace accommodations available to persons with disabilities.

Kim Borowicz received her law degree from University of Washington and is a Staff Attorney at Access Living. Kim represents clients in fair housing cases, ensuring that clients receive accommodations they are entitled to through the Fair Housing Amendments Act. As a person with low vision, Kim uses a variety of accommodations while at work. Kim uses portable magnifiers while in the courtroom; in the office Kim uses keyboard stickers and an office scanner to transfer documents into her computer. After documents are scanned they can be read using ZoomText software, a screen magnifier, and reader.

Carrie Kaufman has a BA from DePaul University and is Access Living's Employment Opportunity Coordinator. Carrie coordinates the Staff Associate Internship Program which provides temporary, transitional employment for DHS customers, as well as on–the–job training, skill development, and continuing education. Carrie has restricted manual dexterity, and uses software called Dragon Naturally Speaking, an accurate and easy to use software that helps her compose emails and documents.

Vatonna Dunn holds an MBA from the University of Illinois and is a Development Associate at Access Living. Vatonna is in charge of organizing marketing and fundraising events to increase awareness of Access Living and attract people to support its mission. As a person with a bilateral hearing impairment, Vatonna uses a phone amplifier that allows her to adjust the volume as needed.

Curtis Harris is a Staff Associate at Access Living, working closely with Access Living's Health Access Policy Analyst Team. Curtis has been heavily involved with advocating for disability rights pertaining to health care, personal attendant and home services programs, and Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Curtis takes brief, 20 minute breaks to go for a walk when feeling stressed or overwhelmed, which can happen as a result of his autism.

Gary Arnold , Access Living's Public Relations Coordinator and the President of Little People of America, manages the organization's media relations and produces the bi–monthly newsletter. A person of short stature, Gary often needs assistance in order to reach materials positioned at standard height. Equipped with an accessible chair, a step stool, and a lower storage bin, Gary is able to access everything he needs to get the job done.

Take the opportunity to talk to your Human Resources Department about employing persons with disabilities. Most employers would be surprised to find out the variety of accommodations available to persons with disabilities. The average cost of the aforementioned accommodations is less than $100, yielding a return on investment that is priceless.