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Standing on his own two feet, disabled man wants job

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – The federal government wants more people with disabilities to join the workforce.

We talked to one man who says it's something he welcomes because he hasn't been able to find a job in years.

Rebecca Smith brings us Troy Rowland's story of standing on his own two feet.

"I've always felt different," said Rowland.

With no use of his arms since birth, he's had to learn how to do basic tasks in a way that may be foreign to you or me.

He can pretty much do everything- drink from a glass, write a note, play on the computer.

He can even drive a car.

"I do everything you do, I just do it different." he said. "Some people are kinda freaked out about it."

Troy now lives with family in Lexington, but has lived on his own before in the past.

He described for us learning how to do his own laundry for the first time.

"I called my mom and I was like, 'I'm sorry for throwing all my dirty clothes everywhere."

Life's all about gaining independence for Troy and part of that is having a job.

"As a man, I feel obligated to work and get my own place."

His experience trying to find work hasn't been easy, with a perception that hiring managers write him off completely.

"They make up reasons for you not to work there."

Estimates show that of the 54 million Americans with a disability, just 20% are employed or are seeking a job.

A new law requires that 7% of the federal government-contractor workforce be made up of people with disabilities.

Troy hopes this type of government intervention will help him.

"You hear about the government's too big. But, without the government, I wouldn't have much help in the private sector."

He says he's willing to do just about anything ... and can.

"I don't like the idea of people thinking that a normal person could work better than me."

Opponents of the new law say since so many people are out of work right now, it's not right to single out specific groups for special treatment in regards to hiring practices.

But, advocates for the disabled say companies will benefit from employing these folks, whom they say, are underrepresented in today's workforce.


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