Photo by Maria Ellen Huebner. 2001 Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
Reprinted from PN February 2002
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The Power of Work

Fourteen years ago, a diving accident changed John Dziewa?s life forever. But the power of work gave him the confidence to believe in himself. Read his story, as told in his own words, in the February 2002 PN/Paraplegia News. ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fulfillment in Employment

Paul Julian, associate systems consultant for Pittsburgh-based Bender Consulting Services (BCS), Inc., understands the value of employment and the sense of self-worth and satisfaction it brings.

Prior to April 1990, Julian was a machinist doing hands-on precision work manufacturing feed screws for the plastics industry. On the 29th of that month, a motorcycle accident resulted in the amputation of Julian's leg below the knee.

"The accident has made a positive impact on my life because it warranted a career change that fit my disability,' Julian says. The experience led him to the information technology (IT) field and ultimately to Joyce Bender, BCS president and CEO.

Julian joined BCS in December 1996 and is working on assignment at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. BCS is an IT firm that specializes in providing consulting services to its customers as well as employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

BCS hires individuals who have technology education, including Pittsburgh's Institute of Advanced Technology (IAT) graduates. This school trains students with disabilities for entry-level computer-programming positions. Julian is an IAT graduate.

As an associate systems consultant, Julian assists Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield with database development.

One of Julian's biggest accomplishments since being hired by BCS was gaining Highmark's confidence.

"I've been assigned high-priority tasks with complete access to all database environments. In turn, my confidence has increased because of it," he says.

Julian receives a competitive income and benefits from BCS. The company realizes how important these are to freedom and independence for people with disabilities. Without career advancement and the opportunities to earn a living, people with disabilities cannot realize their dreams. BCS has made this possible for Julian and many others.

BCS's philosophy of complete inclusion and participation by people with ability has led to national recognition. In a June 1999 ceremony at the White House, President Clinton presented the President's Award to Bender. This honor goes to an American who furthers the employment and empowerment of people with disabilities.

Contact: Lee Hassinger, BCS, (412) 787-8567 / 787-7178 (fax).


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