The Value of Employees with Disabilities

 

 

 

 

When you recruit through BDI, you change the life of a person with a disability. You also gain a dedicated, passionate employee.

Steve Tidwell, Facilities Manager at Cox Automotive, has hired and managed several BDI alumni including Eric Walker, who was recognized for his 10 year work anniversary at Breakfast with Champions. 

Tidwell reflects, "BDI staff came out with Eric and he was introduced to everybody, and all of a sudden, our workplace just exploded. I mean, [Cox employees] were so appreciative of us reaching out to [BDI] and bringing someone in... As soon as they saw Eric, they just fell in love with him."

 

While Cox immediately embraced Eric, he was shy at first. "Eric was very introverted at first," Tidwell shares. "But I'll tell you, after he was here for about four weeks or so, he was talking with us and he grew out of that really fast."

Steve was grateful for the help BDI job trainers were able to lend during Eric’s transition, noting that BDI worked with Eric and Cox Automotive during that time.  The things they taught Eric about the work environment also helped Steve in learning how to work with Eric and other employees with a range of disabilities. “It’s been a learning experience, and the things they taught Eric, helped me as well,” Steve said.

As Eric started to open up more and more, he also began providing a different and important perspective. Steve explains, “Eric will hold his hand up in the middle of these big meetings and ask questions that you and I are afraid to ask. This forced us into a more open communication and relieved the pressure in those situations."

"By having people with [disabilities such as] autism around you it makes you more aware and open. The more you are around people with disabilities the more you realize that we all have disabilities, and we all have opportunities to improve."

Now Eric Walker is considered a part of the Cox family. Eric celebrated his 10 year anniversary with Cox Automotive at this year's Breakfast with Champions. "[BDI clients] want to be actively involved with something." Steve boasts about Eric, "He does his job on a faithful basis. I wish we had ten more just like him."

Ability One Georgia Enterprises United Way