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Employee Focus: William

At MidWest Enterprises for the Blind we believe in the inherent value of all people, specifically people who are blind.  William has been with MidWest Enterprises for the Blind (MWEB) for many years and currently holds the position of Business Development Coordinator.  He’s excited to share some of his story with you: 

How did you get connected to MWEB?

My sight had severely diminished and I was no longer able to run my mail order business.  My wife passed away during the same time and I needed some additional work.  At the Commission for the Blind, my counselor recommended that I look into MWEB in addition to the other companies I was applying for.  She had been helping me to apply for a number of jobs. I had heard some things here and there about MWEB, but didn’t know much and wasn’t sure how I felt about working there. After doing a little research, though, I understood that it is a company with a mission and a great reputation, applying was easy. I ended up going into MWEB, filled out an application, and was basically hired the same day. 

What is it like to work at MWEB?

I had been an early adaptor when the Microsoft Office Suite came out so, even as a man who’s blind, I was fairly proficient with the software.  I started in production at MWEB and as opportunities opened up, with my skillset, I moved into customer service.  I wanted to continue to learn and grow professionally.  I went back to school to get my degree in Marketing in order to add value to my position at MWEB and enhance my skillset. 

One of the things that I really appreciate about MWEB is the focus on trying to promote from within.  I’ve benefited greatly from that focus and have personally and professionally seen myself grow because of my time here.  As the company has grown, opportunities have grown and I really love seeing the opportunities that the companies offer to the me and the rest of the staff. 

What would life be like for you without MWEB?

I always say, “no one’s knocking down our doors to hire folks who are blind” and so when my life was in a tailspin I really needed steady work and MWEB was willing to hire me.  I didn’t want to lose my house or my standard of living.  I’m a person who is constantly in motion, taking advantage of opportunities, so I think I would have found something for work eventually, but I don’t know that it would have afforded me what MWEB has afforded me.    

As a nation we’re celebrating Black History Month, what does this month mean to you?

I’ve thought about this for the interview and think about it often.  I am a business professional who happens to be black.  I appreciate the fact that those who came before me were willing to make sacrifices so that I can have the opportunities that I have now, both in my personal life and professionally.  It feels important to me to encourage everyone to continue to strive for equality so that we can be strong as a human race.  Unity is very important to me.  I believe that we owe it to ourselves to strive to develop as individuals so that we can see the benefits for ourselves and for our community.