News | Oct. 25, 2017

DLA Aviation observes National Disability Employment Awareness Month

By Leon Moore DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Imagine you apply for a job and get a call from your potential employer stating your resume is impeccable and you are an ideal candidate and they would like to bring you in for an interview.

However, when you arrive for the interview, the moment they see you’re in a wheelchair, they appear uncomfortable and start apologizing, telling you all the ways the job would not work for a disabled person. They even go so far as to tell you the job has already been filled.

This is what Marcus Miller said he experienced time and time again when potential employers found out he was in a wheelchair, the result of a car accident when he was 22-years old. That was 28 years ago.

“Not everybody welcomes people with disabilities. A lot of employers didn’t want any part of that. They were afraid of that,” said Miller.

Miller, a demand supply chain analyst in the Business Process Support Directorate at Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, was one of three of the organization’s employees who shared their personal experiences and challenges of being disabled during a disability awareness forum held in the Lott’s Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, Oct. 11.

“Treat us like you would want to be treated,” said Miller.

Qi-Liang Zhu joined Miller on the panel. She’s a customer accounts specialist in the Customer Operations Directorate’s Air Force Customer Facing Division. “I’ve been with many different agencies and I’m going to tell you this place is the best place to work,” she said.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. President Harry Truman began this observance in 1945.

Ensuring consistent programs of equality, diversity and inclusion for all employees that empower the workforce to achieve their full potential and unify the workforce to achieve the mission falls on the shoulders of the DLA Aviation Office of Equal Employment and Opportunity and Diversity.

The objective of the EEOD mission is creating a collaborative culture where the empowerment of a diverse workforce bolsters individual and organizational growth.

Gina Campbell is a contract specialist in Supplier Operations Original Equipment Manufacturer Directorate’s Aviation Engines and Auxiliary Components Division’s Honeywell team. She lost her hearing when she was just nine-months old. “I feel like its one big family here at DLA.”

Miller, Campbell and Zhu are examples of how resilient the DLA workforce is. Resiliency, according to the DLA resiliency webpage, simply means the ability to function really well in the face of adversity. DLA’s resiliency effort is part of six core values of DLA’s Strategic Plan – Integrity, Resiliency, Diversity, Innovation, Accountability and Excellence.