Walmart shines in Olean as an employer of people with disabilities

Walmart employees from the ReHab Center Nate Sledge and Bernie Snyder take a moment from carting to stand with Mary Coss, Walmart’s Human Resources Director, in celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month which runs throughout October.

The Rehab Center is proud to celebrate Walmart Supercenter in Olean for employing five people the Agency supports.  Thanks to Walmart’s commitment to the community as an employer of people with disabilities, it has helped each to reach greater independence in their lives, gain in self-confidence, and succeed on the job.

It’s a win-win for everyone. As the six are good at what they do, Walmart wins.  Reciprocally, The ReHab Center, whose mission is to enhance the lives of people with disabilities, also wins through its collaboration with Walmart.

As The Rehab Center celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month throughout October, it will be honoring employers in the community who have hired people with disabilities.

This week, the ReHab Center celebrates Walmart’s long-standing commitment to employing people with disabilities, beginning with Tom Freitag 18 years ago. Thanks to the vision and foresight of Mary Coss, Walmart’s Human Resources Director, in addition to Tom,  Matt Herbert, Bernie Snyder, Nate Sledge, and Gene Williams all have jobs.

“Tom was our first,” Mary Coss, who has been Walmart’s Human Resources director for 22 years, said. “He did wonderfully at his interview and we knew he would do well.”

Tom, who works in the Lawn and Garden section as well as carts at times,  has also worked at The Castle for seven years and was recently honored for 25 years of service at SubCon’s Annual Years of Service dinner.

Matt Herbert, who is another Walmart employee, impressed Mary with his go-getter drive and self-initiative to apply for a job at Walmart. Mary was impressed with his drive to work and hired him.

“We were impressed that he sought out a job on his own initiative,” she said.

Matt was given the Rising Star Award from the Rehab Center’s Employment Connection at SubCon’s annual Years of Service dinner.

Mary said the five employees fit in well among her close to 400 employees at Walmart. They are especially respected for their “work ethic” and “high attendance rate.” She said their disabilities are invisible due to their high performance on the job.

“It’s wonderful. They’re very proud of their work and they’ve never let me down. They’ve always done well,” she said, adding, “Their disabilities are invisible and we don’t cater to them.  They don’t get any special treatment.”

On the other hand, she says they don’t require any special treatment, indicating a good employer brings out the best in an employee, a skill at which Walmart clearly shines.