Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles Joyce Bender and her advocacy for disabled workers in Korea.

Joyce Bender during an April visit to Daegu, via Newsis.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles Joyce Bender, of Pittsburgh-based Bender Consulting Services, today and her recent work for disabled workers in South Korea.
During her visit, South Korea’s barriers showed. The country has no federal agency that monitors and enforces access for workers with disabilities, instead relying on a fine that many companies seem to pay rather than hiring people, Ms. Bender said.

The government does not pay adequately for certain medications that disabled people need, which becomes a self-perpetuating cycle if those people do not have jobs. And the country’s translation for epilepsy only recently changed its name away from a term synonymous with “madness.”

In Daegu, officials from the town’s Center for Independent Living took Ms. Bender to meet to meet two employees with developmental disabilities who were employed primarily in shelving books. The chair of the organization, Ms. Bender reported in a blog post, could not come up with another company that employs people with disabilities.

“The only way you change things is by hiring people,” she said that she told them. “Until you see someone working by your side in a wheel chair, or who is deaf, and say, ‘Wow, they can do this job, look at what a great job they’re doing’ — that’s the only way you change this whole situation.”

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