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Center City Event Encourages Employers To Give Disabled Workers a Try

(Suzanne Erb, who is visually impaired, trains and supports disabled workers.  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(Suzanne Erb, who is visually impaired, trains and supports disabled workers. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An estimated eleven percent of Philadelphia’s workforce has some kind of disability, and city officials are trying to spread the word that they make great employees.

An event today in Love Park was aimed at getting that message to employers.

When it was time for Kentu Malik to graduate from high school, he had no idea what he would do next.   Malik has an intellectual disability and admits he was nervous about finding a job.

But with help from St. John’s Community Services, he found a job where his hours and wages have been steadily rising and where he’s found a social life with his co-workers.

(Kentu Malik, right, with friend Tremaine Lewis in Love Park for disabled employment awareness event.  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(Kentu Malik, right, with friend Tremaine Lewis in Love Park for disabled employment awareness event. Credit: Pat Loeb)

“They have bowling parties and cookouts,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

The city’s Department of Behavioral Health would like more disabled workers to find that kind of success.

That was the goal of today’s awareness event in Love Park, where service providers extolled the virtues of hiring the disabled.

“They are motivated to be part of a team, to make money, to be included in the fabric of their community, so it is a win-win for business and for the people we support,” says Jeff Orlin, who runs the city’s “Employment First” initiative.

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