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Engineers talk disabilities in the workplace at Inclusion Month event

NAWCAD Lakehurst engineers discuss the importance of disclosing disabilities in the workplace during the "Abilities at Lakehurst" Inclusion Month event on the Lakehurst side of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. July 10. (U.S. Navy photo)

NAWCAD Lakehurst engineers discuss the importance of disclosing disabilities in the workplace during the "Abilities at Lakehurst" Inclusion Month event on the Lakehurst side of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. July 10. (U.S. Navy photo)

Jul 18, 2018

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JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst engineers discussed the importance of disclosing disabilities in the workplace during an Inclusion Month event on the Lakehurst side of base July 10.

The “Abilities at NAWCAD Lakehurst” event aimed to increase the amount of personnel who feel comfortable self-identifying a disability they have in order to receive any assistance they may need in the workplace.

The event was part of the Naval Air Systems Command’s Inclusion Month and was hosted by the NAWCAD Lakehurst Individuals with Disabilities Advisory Team (IWDAT), the NAWCAD Lakehurst Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Division, and the Naval Civilian Managers Association.

Panelists opened the event by sharing their story or a story of a family member who is living with a disability, and the experience they’ve had in the workplace.

“I’m just hoping that being vocal about my disability will help those out there in our workforce that might be afraid to disclose because of the stigma or that they would be put in a box,” said Stephen Carter, NAWCAD Lakehurst in-service engineer.

They encouraged personnel to identify their disability in order to receive assistance they need so they can work at their full potential.

“People have different strengths and different weaknesses. Having a disability doesn’t change that. It’s true for everyone,” said Jeremy Street, NAWCAD Lakehurst design engineer.

Panelists also shared with audience members what they can do to make the workplace more inclusive.

“Do not judge on disability or what you see. I have met some incredible people that have incredible dreams,” said Michael Safin, NAWCAD Lakehurst in-service engineer.

“If someone asks you to enlarge your screen, it’s not that much work and it might have taken them a bit of courage to ask it. Make an effort and try and help them out,” said Carter.

They all echoed the importance of supporting personnel and asking if they have any special requirements to make the workplace more inclusive.

“It’s much more respectful to support the person, rather than not asking at all,” said Safin.

“Just because you see something doesn’t mean that’s actually what you’re seeing,” said Panel Moderator Luke Capritti, NAWCAD Lakehurst mechanical engineer. “Talk to me and ask me a question about it and I can explain myself.”

A live demonstration of how to update disability information using the SF-256: Self-Identification of Disability Form in the MyBiz government employee system followed the panel. Laptops were available for employees who wanted to update their information after the event.

“The Abilities at NAWCAD Lakehurst event was a great success and a fantastic start to Inclusion Month,” said Ryan Magovern, IWDAT site co-lead. “The Individuals with Disabilities Advisory Team couldn't be more proud of our panelists for sharing their experiences and helping to educate the greater NAWCAD Lakehurst community."

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