Gillette Children’s is proud to partner with patients, families, and the community to help people realize their goals as they each create their own story.
Krista Jacobson is an adult Gillette patient and has been in the workforce for 14 years. Krista has cerebral palsy (CP) and comes to Gillette for therapy and other specialty care. She recently received a sit-to-stand power wheelchair thanks, in part, to the hard work she did with her Gillette physical therapist Kristen Olson.
Krista enjoys jobs that allow her to interact with people. She has experience in clerical work and in retail. She also volunteers at Gillette, is eager to encourage inclusivity in the workplace, and answers some questions about her work experience.
How has Gillette Children’s supported you in your desire to work and volunteer?
Gillette has helped me with some complications I have with cerebral palsy. Through physical and occupational therapy, I have gained more self-confidence and increased my ability to get out and about in the community. This has really improved with my new power wheelchair. The new sit-to-stand power wheelchair is more comfortable, and I can move faster using it.
Why do you think it’s important for people who have mobility or disability issues to be in the work force?
I believe it’s important for employers to give everyone a chance, regardless of the outward physical challenges someone might have. We all bring talents and experiences with us just as ‘able-bodied’ people do. We can be an asset for businesses.
Tell us about your volunteer work at Gillette.
I assist in the pre-operative surgical area. I also take families back to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) after their loved one awakens from a surgical procedure. I enjoy volunteering at Gillette because it gives me an opportunity to ‘give back’ for the help that Gillette has given me since I relocated to the Twin Cities.
What advice or tips would you share with other people who want to work or volunteer but might feel their health concerns could be a hinderance?
Take a chance and put yourselves out there in the community. If you are not sure if you will be good at something, start small with only a few hours a week until you gain more confidence. Network with other people with special needs who are working or volunteering in the community for support. Be patient with new experiences. You might not know everything right away but give yourself a chance!
What advice do you have for employers to encourage them to hire people with health or mobility concerns?
Don’t sell us short based on stereotypes or appearance. I wouldn’t be where I am today if people had not had confidence to at least give me a chance to succeed. Be mindful about customizing a job for what we are able to do. I can’t reach tall shelves to stock them, but I can stock lower shelves, greet customers, cashier, and other skills.
Tools and Resources
Gillette encourages people with disabilities who are interested in exploring careers to contact Vocational Rehabilitation Services in your county.
The U.S. Department of Labor is marking 2023 as the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Rehabilitation Act laid the foundation for the more comprehensive Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These laws continue to be important tools to advance access and equity for workers from historically underserved communities.
Request an appointment to connect with Gillette providers.