The Employer Spotlight describes employers' successful practices for outreach, recruitment, hiring, and accommodating workers with disabilities.
Description: Leroy J. Wiltz, the Director of Graphic Services at MERCK, talks about realizing that he needed to do more to ensure employees with hearing impairments were able to fully participate in meetings, and to learn about their needs and perspectives.
Leroy J. Wiltz: I'll tell you a story that happened to me that really changed my perspective. We would have weekly, bi-weekly meetings, monthly meetings with our employers and I went in and I wrote specifically what the meeting was about, handed that to my deaf employees and there was a heated discussion about a particular topic and a lot of the questions were coming from other employees that were not deaf and all the peripheral questions were very engaging and very pertinent to the subject that we were talking about and during that discussion my deaf employee got up and walked out and I immediately stopped the meeting and I asked him what's going on why are you leaving? And he wrote on a piece of paper I'm not a part of this meeting and it struck me I said you know how could I be so insensitive to anyone and not think this through but I was really just doing what past practice was and I because I didn't have the exposure to the deaf I really had no idea of the impact of what I was doing and holding a meeting and having an employee just sit there and not really understand what I was saying. I mean unless you have that experience, it doesn't affect you as a hearing because you're used to just talking like we're talking now and when he left I said to myself this would be the last meeting that I would ever hold without an interpreter and that's where my journey into the deaf culture began.
Description: Jay Schiller, Senior Scientist at MERCK, Inc., talks about the value to his organization and to students with disabilities of MERCK's annual Disability Mentoring Day event.
Jay Schiller: One of our signature events that we plan to center around each year is disability mentoring day. I think the mentors are more excited than the students, you know, in the beginning at least. They're very, people are very willing to spend their day talking about themselves, their jobs, and what they do at Merck, and show kids a little bit a slice of what they do. It takes a little bit for the kids to warm up, but once you do, the smiles come out, and they're really appreciative and have tons of questions for the mentors during the day. The high school student that gets a corporate experience or a job experience before they go onto college or before they go on to further their education will earn 40 percent more in salary. Will, you know that, you know, people with children and students with disabilities are underrepresented there to begin with. So if you can provide that kind of corporate or business experience to a student with a disability, just that, it will only benefit them in the long run, and it definitely benefit the mentors and the kind of experience that they are able to provide. And bringing these students in and showing value. You know, hey, this is something you could do. You know, just breaking that kind of, that glass wall to these students and welcoming them into the community pays extraordinary amount of dividends to all peoples involved.