Friday, March 25, 2016

In Colorado, "Company transforms disability into 'Brewability.'"

I have a social media friend named Loren. He's a musician, and works with the disabled. If we've ever met in person, it's been only brief, but he lives just a few blocks away, and I've learned a lot from him lately.

One of my recent civic preoccupations has been the casually neglectful way cities the size of New Albany treat their disabled residents and visitors, especially as it pertains to accessibility -- sidewalks, crosswalks, and the nuts and bolts of getting around, as it pertains to folks who don't find it as easy to get around as I do.

I don't know the best way to phrase it. The issue, whether it applies to bureaucratic functionaries or ordinary people, is the complete absence of recognition. That ADA ramp is necessary, not a place to park an earth mover while the crew has lunch. It makes me crazy.

Furthermore, the pervasive cluelessness isn't restricted to those among us who are disabled now. As Loren points out, quite a few of us will be there ourselves, at some point in our lives. I watched recently as my mom tried to acclimate herself to using a walker. She succeeded, and has greater mobility than before.

I don't want her to try and kick trash cans out of her path. Think, you idiots.

Anyway ... Loren sent me this link, which tells a story that is veritable salve on my jaundice about craft brewing's many excesses. Maybe there is hope yet.

Thank you, sir.

Company transforms disability into 'Brewability', by TaRhonda Thomas (KUSA 9)

DENVER - He’s been a maintenance worker, a landscaper, a bakery worker, a dishwasher, a hospital worker and a zoo employee. But 24-year-old Tony Fuhrman has never found in those jobs what he wants most: a full-time career.

“All of these jobs were a year or two,” he said. “I loved the jobs. I just couldn’t stay at them.”

That’s because they were either temporary or gave Tony no potential to develop a career. Living with several disabilities, Tony has seen employers who are hesitant to give him a chance.

“Not all employers are receptive to different kinds of folks,” said Tony’s mother Mary Fuhrman.

Tony is hearing-impaired and vision-impaired. His cognitive function is high, however “the joints and the muscles do not communicate consistently with the brain,” Mary said.

Looking for an opportunity for her son, Mary’s friend told her about a new company offering jobs and training to people with special needs. That company is focused on Colorado’s rapidly-growing craft brewing industry. Being not too fond of beer, at first, Tony was hesitant.

“I figured ‘you know what? It’ll get me working. I’ll go ahead and try it,’” he said. “It turned into the best thing I’ve experienced.”

Tony began working with Brewability Lab. The small brewery can employ up to eight people with special needs (age 21 and over), teaching them the brewing process from start to finish. Focused on removing the stigma of a disability, the company’s name is based on creating an ability… to brew.


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