MARQUETTE — Richard Bernstein is a well–known attorney in Michigan. Just last year, he was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court. Everyday, Bernstein memorizes all of his briefings and cases, because he is blind.
Thanks to a new initiative from Governor Snyder’s Office, Called the MI Hidden Talent tour, Bernstein and Lt. Governor Calley are encouraging business owners and employers to hire people with disabilities.
“If employers will give someone with a disability a shot, what they’ll find is that it’s not charity, but what they’re doing is giving an opportunity to talented, dedicated, and hard–working individuals that will make their workplace better,” said Lt. Gov. Calley.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the Lt. Gov. and to the governor for making this a priority of their administration, allowing people with disabilities and specials needs to have chances, have opportunities to do things that they thought were never possible. The idea of creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities and special needs, there is nothing better than doing that,” said Bernstein.
Governor Synder’s office has heard from numerous business owners across Michigan that are having a tough time filling positions in the workforce. The Lt. Governor says that people with disabilities can fill those jobs, if they’re given the chance.
“My goal for this is for it not to be viewed as something as extordinary or different in the future. I just want it to be the normal course of doing business. Once we get to that point, I think that we will have arrived,” said Calley.
“When you allow for somebody to have a job, you give them dignity, you give them self–respect. You give them a sense of purpose and a sense of mission. There is no greater feeling than when someone says to you, ‘I’m going to offer you a job. I’m going to offer you a position,” added Bernstein.
Calley is spreading the message that there is a great opportunity to hire people with disabilities, who have a lot of heart, passion and determination… people like Richard Bernstein.
“He’s a great example of how much a person with a disability can achieve,” said Calley. “He’s visually impaired and that presents some challenges, but it also presents some opportunities. Every time that we look at a person and obsess about what they can’t do instead of building around what they can do, we’re really selling that person short and we’re taking away contributions that would otherwise really benefit society.”
“When someone says to you, ‘I want you to come work for me,’ it is impossible to quantify how much that feels and means to be given the opportunity to be part of a workplace and to be a part of a community. This program, this tour, is going to help make that possible and make happen,” said Bernstein.