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Diverse staff at The Garrison Restaurant highlighted during National Disability Employment Awareness Month

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Workplace diversity advocates say including people of all ability levels is part of what it means to have a diverse workplace.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Representatives with The Garrison Restaurant say they’ve welcomed employees of all ability levels for years.

Toney Brown gives a lot at work, and he’s gotten a lot out of it, too.

“(The) best part of this job is everyone treat you like family your family in the kitchen,” he said.

When Brown started working at The Garrison, his stutter made it hard for people to understand him. But by interacting with coworkers and guests, his stutter is gone and his confidence is up.

“It’s just a matter of giving them a chance,” chef Matt Wise said. “And Tony, when he came here, he had a stuttering problem. And we got to working with him, have him slow everything down, and now he does a pretty good job.”

Finding employment for people living with disabilities can be hard. Brown knows the feeling first hand.

“It made me like nervous,” he said. “Because if I mess up, well, I’ll be in trouble.”

But he’s thankful for support from Easterseals Crossroads Employment Consultant Alex Buchman. Buchman says employment consultants often work side by side with the employees as they learn their jobs.

“They typically are the hardest workers you’ll have. They’ll come to work every day ready to go. And I know a lot of the smaller employers will really need some people like that. Especially nowadays, where it’s hard to get employees to come in,” he said.

Buchman says Brown is a true success story and a testament of what someone can do when given the chance.

“Never give up. Just push yourself. Never give up,” Brown said.