Florida Self- Advocacy Central is pleased to once again celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month by featuring people with disabilities who are out in the workforce.
Name: Jimmy Fricke
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Length of time at current job: 7 years
What is the best advice or encouragement you’d give to a fellow self-advocate about accessing or keeping employment?
Prove to the employer you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Show them your determination. As a cashier, a lot of times employers don’t feel comfortable hiring people with disabilities on the register because of the money and counting change. I’ve been able to prove to my boss and other people I can do it. I’ve put a lot of focus on it, as well as being the best employee on the register. Even though I make mistakes here and there, I’m able to learn, pick up on those mistakes, and fix them. That’s what's helped me. My boss can also see that I can fix those mistakes on my own.
What advice would you give employers about hiring a person with a disability?
I would say to the employer, let the employee show you what they can do and believe in that person. I know a lot of people with disabilities are trying to prove themselves worthy to their employer. I think employers should roll the dice on an employee with a disability and the employee will prove they can do the job.
What’s the most significant employment-related challenge you face as a person with a disability?
Being on the register can be challenging at times. There’s so much going on. Counting money back and focusing on one person. When you look and see the line getting backed up, you can get overwhelmed. That’s where mistakes lie. I’ve been able to fix those mistakes. Also, being able to stay calm under pressure.
How should we be advocating for better employment opportunities and practices in Florida?
There are so many kids that want the opportunity to work and have a successful life. I think employers should let employees prove they want to work for them. The employees just have to be given a chance.
Which agency was the most helpful to you in accessing and maintaining employment?
The agency that was most helpful to me was the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD)
In your opinion, how does employing a person with a disability help their quality of life?
It helps. Having money is such a great feeling. Everyone likes the opportunity to have money. It lets them go out and buy what they need or want. It’s a great opportunity for them to see or feel the money they can get from a paycheck. Everybody loves having a paycheck coming in.
FSACentral would like to thank Jimmy for his time and thoughtful answers.