A collection of short profiles of DOT employees who have achieved success with reasonable accommodations.
Jacob Leffler, a Correspondence Specialist in the Office of the Secretary's Executive Secretariat, reviews incoming correspondence addressed to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary.
Jake is a Deaf individual who receives reasonable accommodations from the Disability Resource Center (DRC), including the interpreting service, videophone, and UbiDuo (a device that enables a one-on-one conversation via typed text). Having these accommodations has allowed Jake to communicate with the Director, Deputy Director, his supervisor, co-workers, and colleagues. Having an interpreter is paramount to Jake and his team members so that all can actively participate in the daily correspondence meetings.
"Without these accommodations, I would be clueless during meetings, casual conversations and cubicle banter, therefore missing valuable and pertinent information, especially emergency information," said Jake. He is thankful to have DRC and that various accommodations are available here at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Elizabeth Jenkins, a staff assistant in the Office of the Deputy Secretary, has a hectic job managing the Deputy Secretary's scheduling requests and the calendar, and preparing briefing books for important meetings.
Liz has low vision, and has received reasonable accommodations from the DRC, including a CCTV, screen enlarging software, and occasional sighted guide services. "When I got to DOT, it was such a relief to find out that the DRC was there. At my old job, it took a really long time to get what I needed."
"Before having a program like DRC, I was afraid to ask for what I needed. I worried about what it was going to cost my employer to have me, so I stayed quiet," she said. "Now, with the equipment I've received, I can get my work done a lot faster. It really helps me to be productive and not call attention to myself."
Mike Pina had applied for approximately 85 Federal positions before attending a DOT career fair for people with disabilities last year. He was eligible for a Schedule A appointment, but had found it difficult to make the needed connections when applying for jobs in other agencies.
That changed when he encountered DOT, and its aggressive Selective Placement Program. "I found it easier to make connections with DOT Selective Placement Coordinators (SPCs), because the information I needed was located right on the DRC web site. The coordinators were more aggressive and proactive in forwarding my application to DOT hiring managers."
Mike Pina says that with the help of DRC's Departmental Selective Placement Program Manager and the agency SPCs, he landed his perfect job. As the Program Manager for Communications at the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, he's responsible for the agency's website content, materials and exhibits produced for trade shows, and for stakeholder outreach.
Stephen Garcia is a Transportation Specialist with the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, where he prepares policy documents and other materials for the agency. Stephen says the DRC and the Virginia Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) both provided him with accommodations that assisted him in performing his job duties.
Stephen, who has mobility and dexterity disabilities resulting from an injury he sustained in 2004, uses voice recognition software and a stand microphone provided by the DRC to type and navigate his computer. He also uses DRC's personal assistance services to assist him with daily work tasks. DRC also worked with the furniture installers to be sure that the work surfaces in his cubicle would accommodate his wheelchair.
DRS provided other modifications to his workspace, including special drawer handles and a handle on the telephone.
"I'm really glad for DRC," he says. "It's great to be working again."