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Hearing, speech-impaired workers making

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

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THEY might not stand out at first sight because they appear quite normal on the job, just like the other employees, and they work just as hard and are disciplined and focused.

However, that is where the similarities end for Jiffy Manufacturing Company employees Kimone Boothe, Daniel McGhie and Patrick Clarke. All three are either hearing-or speech-impaired.

Despite their speech and hearing disabilities, the trio have been described by the company's Managing Director Christopher Lowe, as loyal, committed, hardworking and disciplined. The Kingston-based company manufactures and distributes tissue products, plastic bags, paper bags and other paper and plastic packaging products.

“Jiffy hires for aptitude and attitude. They work hard and very often, they try harder than people who do not have any disabilities,” Lowe said.

A smiling Boothe has worked for Jiffy for two and a half years. She is hearing and speech impaired, but you would never guess by just looking at her. She is warm and cheerful, loves working hard and likes that interest has been shown in her. Boothe says her job has provided her with the opportunity to do new things because she works hard and she tries. She likes operating the packaging and sealing machines and helping with inventory. She has also learnt about quality control which is a new area for her, but she welcomes challenges.

“I would advise other persons who have speech or hearing impediments to ask friends who are working if there are jobs available where they work. Keep trying. If you really want to work and you keep trying and you show employers that you want to work, you will get a chance,” she said.

She notes that it took her three years to get this job, and she is very happy to be working at Jiffy and learning new things.

McGhie is deaf and mute. He has been working at Jiffy Manufacturing Company for three and a half years and likes working on the machines. According to McGhie, he welcomes the opportunity he has been given, to learn to operate different machines in the manufacturing plant.

“It is most interesting. I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn how to fix and operate machines,” he said in sign language. He is excited and grateful that his manager has given him the opportunity to learn how to operate new machines whenever he has proves himself on a machine he is assigned to.

Clarke, who is both hearing and speech impaired, has been with the company for more than five years. He said that he found his job very interesting from the get-go and his mind was very focused.

“The more I kept my focus, the more I felt that my boss had confidence in me and that I could keep my job,” he explained. He likes that his job allows him to keep improving and that he gets good protective gears to enhance his safety on the job. Like McGhie, he noted that the better he performed, the more opportunities he received for promotion and to help others learn. He has especially enjoyed learning the extruder, the rewinder, and how to drive the forklift. Clarke said he has enjoyed teaching others how to safely operate the machines at the factory and would like to one day become a supervisor. He proudly welcomes the opportunity to represent the company. “The more you focus, the more you stay positive, the braver you get about learning and the more likely it is that you will get and keep a job,” he said.

“They want to work and have fewer opportunities than the persons without their challenges, so they try harder. They seem to get along well with their co-workers, and their disabilities have not affected their ability to effectively do their jobs,” Lowe proudly said of the three.

Asked why the company sought to employ persons with speech or hearing impairments, the managing director said the recommendation was made by someone one day and the company thought it would be good to give persons with such challenges the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way.

“We checked with School for the Deaf, who then sent us applicants. They have shown us that being disabled does not mean being unable. The environment they are required to work in determines, to some extent, the limitations they have, and not all disabilities are the same. We would not hesitate to hire others with disabilities,” he said.

Jiffy Manufacturing Company produces the Jewel, Halo, Clariz and Alero brands of tissue products.

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