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Out Of Step Disabilty Website

Apr 3, 2014|

A discussion with Nikki Zimmerman, founder of outofstep.com about employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

You're listening to microscope for a series of interviews of people of interest in northwest Oregon and selfless Washington. My name's Gary and there's a brand new website out -- called out of step dot com out of step helps people with disabilities create better economic success. It's a free and innovative online marketplace and platform. Where people -- disabilities can make money and promote business by selling goods and services. Out of step dot com founder -- Zimmerman long dreamed of creating a tool to help people with disabilities achieve greater economic independence. So we welcome -- Zimmerman to the show I -- Hi Gary thanks timing for you bet so fury if you're in the world of disability and you out of a website that's really taking offering a told out of step dot com can you tell us about what you what's it's all about. Well we're an online. Companies that connects people with disabilities to consumers and employers by featuring their products and services. So it's somebody. Who has had a disability their whole life were new to disability were detonated it actually our disabilities on the honor system and and we have all types we all types of disabilities and they are. Some of that from burst some acquired later yep the we have at all do you feature profiles from these people we feature profiles so people. I have a a little many web site that they can come on and create their page and it tells about. What they do and it. Product pictures or pictures of themselves or videos. They describe what they do and then. And then we -- Lincoln backed consumers and employers to engage them and and supporting these folks who can so can you give us some examples of of what sort of products and services -- feature and it's like. Cash we have everything it's the great it's it's really fun to see it develop because of course like. The rest of the world. And they produce and do everything just like anybody else so we have private investigators. We have artists we have -- makers we have tool makers we have. Warehouse. Employees or potential employees. We have. I I had my list goes on well on and on the gets a landscaper -- agreement. Landscaper mobility band dealers and all these people have a disability that's great so how successful are you so far. We're doing great -- we have just taken off for -- and grass fire across the United States we have had just zero. Negative feedback. It's all been positive and people are excited to his support and get this ball rolling because it's too well it's time for people with disabilities to stop having. -- the short end of the stick as it relates to jobs and economic opportunities. Was reading something about 70% of people with disabilities. Are unemployed. Yeah it's shocking statistics and it's something that we're working on on all add to that -- 25% of the population. Third but it didn't it fluctuates Tony's -- 5% of the population actually have a disability or will become disabled in their lifetime so it's just -- these are staggering numbers. That's a huge number. So if I wanted to become part of this website have a way of how -- get featured -- regular profile there. Well you have to have a disability and beyond that we don't really from restrict you. In anyway we just ask that you come on and if you have a website you can link people to your -- -- your website. We have a new thing called disability tags which were really excited about which she it's an optional feature. And not you can just kind of list that you might be wheelchair user or. Veteran and disabled that two or somebody with boxes on these kinds of things can be. Just as tag and then you can go on your profile and just describe what you do and we of course think that's the best way to feature. Your product or service is by focusing on your skills and not necessary your disability. Okay. Do you -- your. Featured people -- they've the end have been gainfully employed or or curly are gainfully employed in your featuring them or is everybody. Looking for a job that's on your site. Both we have writers that -- other writing. Gigs and they want to be doing more we have not -- good group of writers I recommend anybody who needs one to come on. And look at some of those profiles. We have people looking for jobs we have people in jobs. That are offering something alternative to their life that might be hobby that they do might. Create greeting cards or how of a special skill that they do outside of work. -- so you don't freelance work so it's again it's a variety. -- -- the website is called out of step dot com. And also be referred to as the out of step -- yes and we just -- kind of re -- ourselves to get rid of the -- -- -- and we are yet but we're really going -- to -- to represented out of step -- so it's an acronym for the out of -- -- is to just -- so we should start calling it too -- now we're working -- so why did you start to -- -- what was the catalyst to -- to get you to -- this what's going. I had a daughter with disabilities and she had just a whole host of things that she was coping with mom and she would be considered. A person that we would never consider to have our own company to be able to really. How is the value especially as it comes to economy because she needed fulltime care and she needed us and she needed us for entire life hand. That was you know it just. Something we kind of just did with her we just lived -- fat and and -- that you know and took care -- we were we were happy to be. Her support. But one day she came in and she really and she was quite young and she really wanted to help with the laundry and we were home schooling her at the time her name's Riley. And we said. I said Riley just need to go back and go back to school with your teacher -- -- you know this is not important and she repeatedly have every day she come back when I was holding cropped close and she wanted to participate in -- Until I finally just had -- -- moment in that Riley wanted to do something protective and in and be involved in the family. And that was kind of the beginning of my education that of course she was capable of doing other things besides learning to write her name higher shoes or whatever we thought was important. She had other ideas of what she thought was important and that was contributing. And I was really good -- laundry and so as she got older we we started a little. Laundry business called dot room laundry because Riley identified thematic -- with her -- So we went to neighbors and so Franzen set and asked if they would like sleeping bags Steiner pillows Steiner. -- all manner of things would be to go to the cleaners and she would she started by picking. A few things up and and then bringing him back clean and for us it wasn't obviously so much about the money it was about the opportunity to connect with. Neighbors and friends and practice all her skills or. OT now occupational therapy or speech therapy or physical therapy. She had a lot of opportunities. When she was. Working on her job. To do things that we otherwise would have said were not important but of course they are and that was the that was the impetus behind all of us. Well the -- story. She -- purpose. She had purpose and she she was you know for. I'm I'm. I started it. A company that thinks broadly and so of course when I looked -- Riley doing this I started to really contemplate what it means. To have a company and you know we all need help in our company's. We don't typically do a 100% of what we. Do in a job we usually have likened my job -- how found people who helped me market this product I have. On lawyers at a console when we need new terms of agreements and I have an accountant that helps me with. All these are the things and it kind of a -- I turn this on its ear and I thought. Why did -- we have to. Do all those things I also think the people with disabilities or eat if you can't do it all than you can't do anything. And none of us do that also. When I looked at it from that perspective. To me it just. Kind of silent place that Riley could still be the owner of her company. But she didn't necessarily have to be the driver of her company she didn't even action need to fold the clothes she could just be. The director of a company if that's what she wanted to GO. So to simplify a little bit in the out of step website is to help people with disabilities. Get employment. So why do you think people with disabilities don't get tired in the first place. But that's. That's a really. Great question and it's a really big question because there's so many variables to that I think often that people don't. People being in this case employers. Don't recognize. That people with disabilities. Are skilled even though. It might not be what it. What you perceive it to be so for instance you can be an accountant. And be blind and a lot of -- -- how how does that even work and I tell you see that inaction. That that you can use computer you can do all this I think we kind of day away from because we fear what we don't know and and it seems complicated and it seems too big and it's just easier not. To go there so that it's unfortunate because you know. Like like the rest of the world people with disabilities make great employees and they only make bad employees it's not any different. One way or the other it's just adapting. To. Having it done in a different way. You can visit changing trend in hiring people with disabilities do I think there's it I think there's a general awareness that's happening. Not just in our country but around the world that first of all. Aid that we need to in my opinion get rid of kind of the guilt factor and look at this is morally can look at a so -- will -- labor force you can look at it as. Talent raw talent that hasn't been tapped into it's another source that has yet to really developed and I think people are started to get that -- People need people to work and here's you know we're starting to put -- approving every day that they have equal value and talent so. Therefore it kind of spreads and the government his spin trying to me. To do a few things on this front -- -- the past -- new law weak internally call -- the 7% rule and that effort there is for anybody who does government contract work 7% of their workforce. Past and be with people with disabilities. And you know the law has gotten a lot of pro and con attention to it and it's it's not structured. Perfectly in my opinion but this this effort. That the government is hat is is making in order to. -- and kind of make -- be more aware is. Valuable if it works I don't now but it's out there. -- is a good idea to have businesses be kind of forced in the hiring people disabilities I would prefer it not to be. That way mom I would I would like to think that companies like ours which is showcase -- inch and make you aware that there is seen on great. Source of talent out there that you couldn't. Benefits from it's not my favorite way of that seeing it but -- and see how it organically of prize to weirdos. It appears are trying to change the viewpoint on -- disabilities can make it seem much less scary for somebody without a disability to feel comfortable hiring somebody with a disability. Yes that's exactly what we're trying to do it's just breaking down barriers and you know anymore I think for all starting to realize that you usually know somebody if you don't if you get you may have a disability you know somebody with disability. You have a family member with a disability. I mean it's becoming. So prevalent that it's hard. Not to start looking at the bigger picture here are so we are just simply trying to. Break down most barriers we we have a radio show that we do we take on. Topics that kind of go for both sides of the aisle so to speak and they. And what we're trying to do there is say you know for example our first show us should AE employer. It should you tell an employer if you have a disability while this affects both sides thought in that equation and -- it's a big scary thing you know of course employers wanna do that if they wanna now and then the people with disabilities don't. Really wanna tell because they're afraid does not get any job because saved divulge something like that is so what -- what do we do with things like that and so we talk about things like time we're trying to bring. You know awareness to things we just did a taxi show because Cecil taxis are starting to be there and actually the law now and new York and and yet we looked at the economics of patents and and how it affected. People without disabilities and what was you know the general consensus here so we do things like that to bring awareness to kind of break down these very errors. And get people aware. These issues but also -- to say you know it's the same kind of problem there's we need to get transported to our job how to -- that. Your website who had been probably due to the hot topics of your radio show you're getting a lot of attention from plot of national. Disability organizations and in just people in doubt in that world why do you think you're getting so much attention. I think I think we're getting attention because people are hopeful I think set we maybe hit. On an idea here that. We hadn't we hadn't ever featured we collectively had never featured people with disabilities in this way. And and now all of a sudden received in how does it isn't just go on is just. Really not that unusual I mean here's a guy -- Cells mobility they announced it does it's not really different from a guy who doesn't have a but it doesn't have a disability who sells. Mobility on timing is just very basic concept that it that basic concept had not been done before and so we -- just. Taking some thing. That most people know to be truth and and just exposing. Can you tell us about some more of the members on your when he website. Gosh we have so many it's really difficult to choose which ones. To -- -- -- speak about. I'll talk about some of my early adopters because I am home. Ever grateful to them for starting and trusting us to get their information out there for example Jaime what's -- brushed. He acquired a disability on the job. And he put. Everything on the line in order to. Create this product that he really believed and called -- a brash and -- brash. He was and that he was a special inspector and back on its common area. Coach -- -- Washington and he he was. He had recognized that there was a problem with how. A building would connect to the foundation of that building. And so she created this cool that would in essence clean out these holes were these things connected. Where Dino rebar and in the that I am probably doing him distant and it's not great I'm not justifying if that's what you just justice here but. Might the idea is that he created tool that would. Makes it the building more secure and have less problems in the long run. And so when he came onto our site we were just quite pleased to showcase his work because he would really put everything out there for the us will now. Now he's being picked up by a distributor it's good to be able to take his product -- to the world that is not because of assets with his hard work that he has. And efforts to get this product known and in it's it's quite exciting I mean this is what a great story to take something when you. Just struggling and spamming me instead in all this has to be done and then -- you put it all on the line and come back with something successful and so -- Jamie is a great great example of somebody who's. Com. Turn things around and done something great with his his idea. We have so he he's a tool maker obviously we have you know we have for the the layman like dialect copied without disabilities -- But. First you know we have some blind would -- actually have several blind wood -- that make exquisite products they are really beautiful products. And you know the rest of us just don't get -- like how how'd you do that you need these things are. You know. Seven. 300 dollars that. We wonder how they do and they and we actually on -- on our radio show we actually interviewed them and try to figure out you know. What's the trick but it's it's using different senses and. So let me interject as a as a -- dispose of a person without a disability how in the world does have a person without -- -- Would working with sauls and sharp object -- -- sounds. Some dangerous personal. You know I think. I honestly I don't know if it's any more dangerous than people with site it's the maybe there's more of our awareness of being careful. But one of the questions we did ask is do you do in the dark and they do I mean it's kind of disconcerting to the rest of the cruelties -- going in his band saws and ways and all this big power equipment and no lights but of course their. Doing it with a touch and and smile and all the senses and that date you know use that instead of sites and and. Fascinating it is and you see their products on your website Ellison -- coma like coming to look or no deal that the that's really great. Sort of life CIA -- actually did peruse the web site and there's plenty of artists on there that do really fantastic work very colorful bright pictures and paintings and well great and we have great. Artists on there one person I really like talking about is hers are not necessarily so colorful but she's incredibly talented and her name's Christie and she just portrait work and it is just magnificent news you can just send Christie a photo. And she will do prefer relatively low price and on even relatively fervor in the press Christie will. Turned back TU within a week these a beautiful. Rendering of your photograph that you sent and it's -- on and it's gorgeous and she's incredibly talented. And she just happens to have a disability. So besides products dude there's must be services on the -- to what sort of services are featured we have a variety of services people. You know the giant fork lift drivers to. You know legal assistance to. And a whole host of the services one of them that I'm particularly keen on right now. OC DD TL. And he is out of the Tacoma Washington area. Another Tacoma Washington -- -- but he -- -- he loves to do boats and cars and I actually had my. The Hickel clean the other day if it was hum easing and he's he's he's. Tongue in cheek talking about he has autism and he's using OCD as his six. And it's exactly what it really doesn't ever want to think that summit with OCD might clean their -- that. The idea of somebody to putting that much attention to DTL. Is it's brilliant and he's he's just gonna take off really fast. And we'll put a positive spin on something that perhaps Lehman's in the world see is as a negative. Absolutely you know so many people are afraid to say anything anymore we don't approach anybody we just feel like -- any say it. Wrong and and get it wrong him and so therefore we have boy Aden and and not work with sound because we're just not. Confident in what we're going to say so -- he is just presenting it to you you can -- he meets you there and you can now easily approach him. Are there other categories and a step dot com we do we have products or services. By people with disabilities we have we've just launched our athletes. That are looking for sponsorship from within and within that category. We also. Featured. Things surrounding athletes so if you have a product for an athlete tourist service for an athlete that would go on. In that section we have -- I believe we have a nonprofit. On there that Tom. It's involved with a Special Olympics and so they're talking about there. There interest in athletes and we have. Nonprofits in general we have lots and lots nonprofits and -- from around the nation that are telling about what they do. One thing that I. Found to be really neat. Early on I had one of our early adopters when we just had products and services out by people with disabilities ask me she said do -- I know the world you know I can go -- to Google and I should be able to. Find anything I want I just don't know what to ask I don't know what is out there to be able to want it I just wish she would have. You know something products and services for people with disabilities and I wouldn't have to to -- -- gas that there's treat house's for instance. Made for people with disabilities like who knew. So she's a site like this can this category because it became. Became from a member and it was a special request to say. Can you feature all these things so we can go find it so we kind of diversified our site beyond people with disabilities. But. Also people who use of why things for people with disabilities of its service in the nonprofit and or products and then of course athletes and then -- Not actually. I gotta be kind of fun we added disable pet tonight you know I think I was little ignorant on that I didn't realize. How serious that was to people and we have some really great profiles for. Organizations who help them Foster better quality of life forward disable -- as well. -- -- and we were on the whole gamut that's amazing. We have -- few more that are coming on and I'm excited about deputy tells about those we have. Disability lock that we're going to be adding to the site -- confined to new. Petitions and laws and has recently been passed. We will be putting in events. Category upstairs because we have lots of people asking if they can talk about their run or. Special. Special event anywhere -- the -- so that people confined down and know what's going on and I'm excited about that. We will eventually be doing medical. And things that are related to the medical industry and and people with disabilities and so that runs the gamut of -- whole host of things am one of my. My special projects that I'm particularly interested in is prison reform and fact we have so many people with disabilities in prison and then what to do when they -- now. So I am trying to put together a whole category event in that helps that population as well. And that's on the whole. Another show the -- that -- got access -- a big -- it is. A well if you really want to thank you for being on the show today and that this is. You really are doing something that's that's some very important and it's it's admirable. To see somebody with such passion. Tackle on something that is. Can seem insurmountable at times. That's it for congratulations see you. Think you and I appreciate the opportunity to get to talk about it. So people come on and to our website which is out of step dot com and check this out send me a note tell me what you're thinking. So if you are person with a disability or you're looking to hire somebody with a disability the place for you is out of step dot com. Mean you Zimmerman thank you so much for being a much -- today thank you Gary. -- scopus and Entercom communications public affairs program. My name's Gary and if you have a nonprofit or public affairs organization that you'd like -- let others know about you can email me at macro Scopes @entercom.com. Remember -- starts with a B -- you can go directly to the station's website click on the community link and submit your information there. Also we like to hear this program again you can visit our podcast page at microscope PDX dot com. Thanks for listening to microscope and enjoy your weekend.