Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Long Island Business News – “How Do You Wish to be Remembered”

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, honoring our heroes who nobly died for our country. On this holiday of reflection and tribute, how do YOU wish to be remembered one day?

Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel became enormously wealthy as the inventor of dynamite, named for the Greek word dynamis – “power.”  Although this explosive was put to positive use blasting tunnels, cutting canals and building railways and roads, it was more infamous as a tool of destruction and war.  Nobel’s premature obituary, erroneously reporting his passing rather than his brother’s, gave him the unique opportunity to reflect on how he truly wanted to be remembered – not as a creator of destruction but as a champion of good. He created the Nobel Prize in physics, chemistry, medicine, physiology, literature and peace, which became his enduring legacy and greatest gift to humanity.  

We each have the power to create our own enduring legacy.  If you are reading this, chances are you are an established business leader, contributing to Long Island’s economic health and enjoying the successes that come with it. The goods and services you produce benefit our community, and perhaps you employ many others who contribute to the economic prosperity and employment of our region. But is that enough?

The unemployment rate currently stands at less than four percent – the lowest in years. That is, if you are not an individual living with disability. Perhaps you face the challenge of being on the autism spectrum; have an intellectual, developmental or behavioral health issue; are a military veteran coping with a disabling condition; or a person born with Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy. Your rate of unemployment climbs to more than 80 percent.  The gap between the general employment rate versus that for people with disabilities truly is a staggering one.

You have the power to change this. Memorial Day marks the kickoff to the summer season.  During the 99 days between now and Labor Day, consider making a personal pledge to make a difference.  Help close the equity gap and equalize the playing field for all members of our society. Everyone has the power to create opportunity and inclusion for people with disabilities.

Recently members from our organization attended Long Island Business News’ “Diversity in Business” Awards at Crest Hollow Country Club to acknowledge those making vital differences in their communities. The room full of nonprofit and business leaders doing great work was inspiring, and palpable change feels imminent for diversity inclusion.

And yet. Another statistic shared that day still shocks:  In the nearly 30 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, despite progressive advancements in Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives and designated departments created to foster a corporate culture of diversity and inclusion, there has been only a one percent increase in disability employment in the workplace.  That’s right, one percent. As leaders we implore you to help move the needle.

How will you and your company be remembered? Simply for your Return on Investment, or for your Social Return on Investment as well?  How do you measure success? How will you leave a lasting imprint? What is your legacy?

Consider hiring a talented yet often-overlooked individual with a disability, or use available outsourcing services by providers committed to this mission. Focus on the abilities that people do have to offer and create space for inclusion and acceptance. Together, we can help more people with disabilities join the world of work, and with it live lives of greater purpose and dignity.

When you look in the mirror, now and at the end of your days, who do you want to see reflected back at you?

Michael Kramer is a 2018 Long Island Business News “Diversity in Business” Award Recipient and Chief Executive Officer of The Corporate Source. TCS is a nonprofit organization based in Garden City dedicated to promoting the employment of individuals with disabilities through outsourcing service contracts.

Share Post

Established in 1996, The Corporate Source provides people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities with well-paying, secure jobs from New York City and Long Island to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  • Address

    1225 Franklin Ave. Suite 335 Garden City, NY 11530
  • Email
  • Contact

    (516) 419-5880