December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. More than one billion people or 15% of the world’s population experience some form of disability with the conditions and impact on individual lives extremely diverse. According to the WHO, almost all of us are likely to experience some form of disability, be it temporary or permanent, at some point in our lives. Disability is a term that can range in meaning from anything mentally or intellectually impairing a person, and it includes chronic illness and mental illness to name a few criteria.
Opened in 2004, Jabil Uzhgorod currently employs close to 3,000, operating in diverse sectors, including consumer and home office, automotive, storage and telecommunications. At the company, there is a strong emphasis placed on creating a culture of inclusion where diversity is welcomed, respected, and celebrated.
At Jabil, employees are encouraged to be their true, authentic self and everyone, regardless of ability, genderidentity, age, sexual orientation, race or religious affiliation and more, is part of the team.
In our joint special project to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities we have partnered with Jabil to tell four stories about their employees who have had to overcome or adapt to challenging life events. Each story has its own character and circumstances, but there are some commonalities that unite them- willpower, dedication, and optimism. By their own example, the heroes of our story showcase the diversity within the disability community and prove that success is achieved by the one who makes a small advancement every day to achieve their goal.
Vasil is 37 years old. He comes from the village of Stepanivtsi, Rivne region. From a young age he was interested in science and was very academic, starting school at the age of five. He is a determined person who enjoys seeking new challenges and seeing what he is capable of accomplishing.
He studied at Lviv Polytechnic National University at the Faculty of Radio Engineering and it’s where he came to learn about Jabil through a graduate workshop. Once he finished his studies, he joined the company, and his first impression has stayed with him. The newcomer could not believe that all this is in Jabil Ukraine. “It was something unreal, not like a factory in the usual sense,” Vasil recalls.
Vasyl works as an expert engineer in the testing department. It’s more mental than physical work. Often, he must eliminate faults and solve complex problems associated with the smooth operation of equipment. In 2015, he was mobilized to the Ranks of the National Army. “I got into service in the ATO zone. I remember those 15 months as one of the hardest in my life, and they stretched like 10 years. But then I did not know that in life I would face an even tougher test.”
Vasil was never in ill health. Unexpectedly in November 2020, he felt weak and became sedentary, showing symptoms similar to Covid-19. The virus was not confirmed, but examinations revealed pneumonia and heart problems. Having cured the inflammation, the state of his health however did not improve. On the contrary, – it worsened each day. When he visited cardiologists, they sounded the alarm – he had but a few weeks to live. He was transferred to Kiev for a life-saving operation. Vasil was given a new aortic valve and fitted with an implant. December 23rd, Vasil now considers his second birthday.
Rehabilitation has been challenging. There were some very difficult periods when it seemed that he would never be able to return to normal life. His wife, Anya, helped him back to good health. At the end of March this year, he was able to return to work fully and was welcomed back with patient, understanding peers.
“I love my job; I like to solve complex problems and look for the causes of problems in complex devices or systems. I am incredibly happy to be part of this large powerful mechanism called Jabil, which I appreciate and cherish. I felt such huge moral support when I got sick it made me so grateful to have such empathetic colleagues and a company who were all supporting me in my recovery and my return to work.”
The main conclusion this life lesson has taught Vasil is to believe in himself and never give up. When you put your mind to something there is nothing you cannot overcome or achieve, he believes.
Mykhailo who is 40 years old, lives in Chertezh village, Uzhhorod district. He has two higher education levels – economic and legal and has worked as a driver in the Transcarpathian regional administration for over 14 years.
It was 2019 when Mykhailo first experienced heart problems but did not take the issue too seriously. He decided in 2020 to change jobs, and a neighbor who worked for Jabil recommended the company.
“My first impressions were very cool given the spacious buildings and modern production lines. Workers were provided with overalls, shoes, food, medical insurance and various benefits. Working conditions are convenient and comfortable. I started working enthusiastically, initially as a production line operator and then moved to a role as an operator for soldering electronic devices. I bought my father a new mobile phone with my first salary, something I was proud to do.”
However unexpectedly one evening, Mykhailo began to feel unwell, and an ambulance was called to his home with doctors who diagnosed him with heart failure.
“My body finally forced me to heed its warnings. Most likely, in my family, this disease is hereditary – at home, my mother suffered a heart attack, and my 13-year-old son has heart problems.”
Mykhailo underwent serious inpatient treatment in a cardiac hospital and still required medical therapy at home. He was unable to return to work for 120 days. For him, Jabil handled the situation very well with understanding and offered an alternative role that was not as physically demanding. Colleagues showed care and attention. Although Mykhailo considers himself an introvert, he has built in a short space of time a strong connection and circle of colleagues and friends who supported him through this challenging time.
Health problems forced Mykhailo to look at his life differently. He is an optimist and looks at everything around him with positivity, avoiding unnecessary stress. He appreciates every morning when he wakes up, and in the evening, he is grateful for a happily lived day.
Anna was born in Letsovitsa village, Mukachevo district and at an early age was diagnosed with scoliosis. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. Following her education Anna married and raised a son and a daughter. Having worked at Jabil in 2009 and left for a period, Anna rejoined the company in 2016 and successfully passed tests to be promoted to Quality Technician. Currently, Anna monitors processes in production. She is at the frontline of ensuring Jabil’s products meet the strictest quality requirements and she also educates and trains newly hired employees.
“At first it was quite difficult working as a Quality Technician because I was not familiar with this work, but later gained practice and got used to it. At Jabil I appreciate the tactful approach the company has with each employee, understanding their needs and requirements to be successful. I have a job where I am able to work diligently, where my needs are considered and where I can grow and progress.”
For Anna, her role as a Quality Technician is suited to her condition, as there is not a requirement to move a lot which can cause her physical pain. Similarly at Jabil Uzhgorod for those with hearing impairments, work life is facilitated by sign language assistants, ensuring they are included, respected, and supported, so they can be successful in their career growth at the American multi-national.
Maksym is 32 years old, originally from Lutsk and is unable to hear or speak. Maksym and his wife work at Jabil Uzhgorod. Jabil is his first employer and according to him, a great first entry into the employment world.
“For me what impressed me most was the scale of production and the huge teams working together. People with disabilities are treated at Jabil with understanding, – I am not alone here, and I have found a lot of peers with hearing loss who are employed by Jabil.”
From his first day Maksym was mentored by an employee with a hearing impairment who taught him the basics of the profession and assimilated him into the company.
“At Jabil I can build a career. The company supports employees with training and provides opportunities for professional growth. When employees become masters of their craft, the disability ceases to be an obstacle. The opportunities at Jabil are limitless. Also, the culture is caring. There is always someone who will come to the rescue if you need it. Although the unique experience and skills you are empowered with mean you very rarely require such help.”
Maksym notes that working at the company brings him personal satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment. His advice to others who encounter health problems is to look for opportunities for self-realization.
December 3, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, is a good reminder to think about our own humanity and show consideration for all those living in our society. Let us be attentive to those who are nearby and need assistance. And then the good on Earth will become a little more.
Learn more about opportunities at Jabil Uzhgorod and the Jabil Joules program, which serves as a platform to create an open dialogue around diversity, equity and inclusion through education, connection, development opportunities, as well as global forums and celebrations by logging onto www.jabil.com
Larysa Lypkan, Varosh