September 25, 2023

🔒 Useful resource teams, different helps assist Fiserv staff with disabilities thrive

John Dziewa was simply 17 years previous when a diving accident left him largely paralyzed from the neck down.

Having spent most of his teen years working as a mechanic for his father’s enterprise, Dziewa didn’t actually have a plan for what would occur when he graduated from highschool in 1988.

That’s when he utilized for a pc programmer coaching program that was being sponsored by means of a partnership between Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin & Metro Chicago and native corporations, together with Brookfield-based Fiserv.

Though he disliked pc programming in highschool, Dziewa determined to present this system a strive.

“I tailored very well to it. It was actually centered on program system analytics in addition to ensuring that with a incapacity you can deal with an eight-hour workday. We had been required to put on fits and ties and every little thing,” he mentioned, recalling the expertise.

Thirty-five years later, Dziewa nonetheless works for the monetary know-how firm, at the moment overseeing conversions, the method by which monetary establishments improve from an older system to one in all Fiserv’s. 

Serving to staff thrive

John Dziewa

What has impressed Dziewa most all through his profession is Fiserv’s continued effort to accommodate and help staff with disabilities – not as a result of federal regulation requires it, however as a result of it’s a part of the corporate’s tradition. When he enrolled within the coaching program that Fiserv participated in, for example, it was nonetheless two years earlier than the passage in 1990 of the People with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination in opposition to individuals with disabilities and mandates affordable lodging within the office.

“Instantly, they acknowledged an untapped workforce in individuals with disabilities, and from the very starting they made lodging,” Dziewa mentioned.

These lodging have taken on many varieties – from making certain workplaces and workstations are accessible to the creation of Thrive, an worker useful resource group for individuals with disabilities, caregivers and allies.

In accordance with the U.S. Census Bureau American Neighborhood Survey, solely 27.6% of the 166,360 disabled individuals over the age of 16 within the Milwaukee-Waukesha metro space had been employed in 2021. That’s about 6% of the 783,166 whole staff within the area at the moment.

Right now, Fiserv companions with Incapacity:IN, the main nonprofit useful resource for enterprise incapacity inclusion worldwide, and the places of work of disabled veterans at a number of universities as a part of its recruitment efforts, famous Mark Jelfs, the corporate’s senior supervisor of communications.

Earlier this month, Fiserv was named a Greatest Place to Work for Folks with Disabilities by the Incapacity Equality Index for the fifth 12 months in a row. An effort to advance the inclusion of individuals with disabilities, the index is a joint initiative of Incapacity:IN and the American Affiliation of Folks with Disabilities, the nation’s largest incapacity rights group.

Whereas Dziewa is essentially the most severely disabled individual in his Thrive group on the Brookfield campus, and the one one who makes use of a wheelchair, the entire members of the worker useful resource group have backgrounds that make them keenly conscious of the wants of disabled people within the office. 

“Once you discuss six levels of separation, you solely should go to 2 or three levels to discover a shut connection to somebody with a incapacity,” Dziewa mentioned. “Whether or not they have a toddler, or one other member of the family (with a incapacity), or simply have had a previous expertise, the fervour is there.”

Constructing design

The Thrive group at Fiserv’s headquarters has additionally been instrumental in making certain that the corporate’s buildings are as accessible as potential. Because of enter from Dziewa, Fiserv rebuilt the ramp at its Brookfield campus thrice to get it proper.

“They lastly ended up with a built-in, heated ramp and platform that labored not just for me, however any able-bodied (individual) who needed to stroll on it within the wintertime,” he mentioned.

Dziewa and his Thrive group have additionally performed a key position in ensuring the corporate’s future headquarters on the HUB640 constructing in downtown Milwaukee is as accessible as it may be in a construction that’s greater than 100 years previous.

He arrange a tour of the constructing with the design architects engaged on the renovations, Fiserv’s facility administration employees and specialists with Milwaukee-based nonprofit Independence First, which offers assets for individuals with disabilities and has one of the crucial accessible buildings in Wisconsin.

“The (Independence First specialists) talked about every little thing from wheelchair customers to the blind, the deaf and folks with epilepsy, and what they did to design (their constructing) with these customers in thoughts,” Dziewa mentioned. “Fiserv is taking these design parts and is incorporating them into the brand new constructing.”

Marci Boucher, president and chief government officer of Independence First, mentioned the nonprofit welcomed the chance from Fiserv “to weigh in on methods to make areas accessible and inclusive for everybody.”

The help and encouragement Dziewa has obtained from Fiserv has had a mobilizing affect on his profession, he mentioned, ultimately main him to earn a level in organizational management from Marquette College.

“Once I first began, I had quite a lot of fears about how I’d be accepted and questioning if I might do the job, and people issues rapidly went away simply by me opening up and Fiserv being proactive and saying it wished to know what these fears and issues had been,” he mentioned. “As soon as that concern was over and I began doing the job, the incapacity wasn’t a difficulty anymore. Discuss a confidence and morale booster.”