Hey, remember that diary I wrote about my brother Joe and what his life has in common with Neil Alan Smith, the poor guy in Florida killed by a hit-and-run driver?
Guess what? My brother GOT A JOB!
To be honest, I have to say I'm really disappointed that it's not a union job. I place a high level of trust in labor unions and little in organizations and companies that sound good and cut people off at the knees over time. This is NOT a union job...but it's WORK.
Joe will be working for one of the higher-end grocery stores here in Mad City. It's full time, and that means health insurance! Because it's not a union gig, the cost is significantly higher than it was back in Seattle, but still half of what I've been paying myself to cover his COBRA premiums. It's a day shift job, which means that his bike rides in the winter won't mean the arctic sub-zero temperatures that come to Wisconsin in the winter when the sun goes down. And it's about two miles from where my husband, Old Abe, and I work, so we can help with transportation when it snows or is really cold.
Oh, and I forgot to mention: Joe's "Ticket to Work" tax credits benefit the store, which is probably why they hired him. And why they'll hire more people, who will in turn earn enough money not to need SSI and other benefits. I'd be willing to be the tax deductions to a business for these programs A) save taxpayer money, B) result in higher incomes for those employed, and C) benefit the businesses that employ disabled citizens.
I did not share what I wrote in the diary I referenced above with Joe, but I did share his new job with my friends on Facebook, who've been hugely supportive. Some have even called him to congratulate him. He and I went shopping last night and spent half of the remaining savings he had on shoes, pants, shirts, etc. for work (and I hope to the Goddess this works or he's out $300), and tomorrow he has orientation.
I'm preaching to the choir here, but the lesson to businesses is this: EVERYONE has value. And those who have the most to prove are those from whom a business has the most to gain. Joe will NOT be earning a living wage, but he has my husband and I to fall back on. That still sucks.
But for Joe, this is a start.