Community Involvement

CDCR helps raise awareness for hiring people with disabilities

People stand under a shade cover that has the CDCR logo and the words
Standing, from left, are Diane Shepherd, Anela Sahman, John McFadyen, Vicente Cuison, Flavio Florez, Jr, and Eric Marks. Seated are Maxine Sanchez, left, and Rhonda Marichalar.

Submitted by CDCR Disability Advisory Committee

On Oct. 10, volunteers from CDCR’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the Office of Personnel Services, the Office of Peace Officer Selection, and CDCR’s Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) gathered on the West Lawn of the State Capitol to help inform the public about the rights surrounding the hiring of those with disabilities, as well as options available to those doing the hiring.

What began four years ago as an idea from CHP has grown into a multi-departmental event providing information to the public.  More than 20 state agencies were represented, including Department of Rehabilitation, California Correctional Health Care Services, California Prison Industry Authority, California Department of Social Services, and non-state entities such as the Special Olympics, Canine Companions for Independence, and others.

All CDCR employees who participated volunteered time, materials, and personal resources to attend and assist with the fair.  Volunteers included DAC Vice Chairperson Maxine Sanchez, Flavio Florez, Jr., Eric Marks, Guadalupe Olguin, Diane Shepherd, Rhonda Marichalar, Anela Sahman, Vincente Cuison, and John McFadyen.

“CDCR has participated in this event since its inception. The growth and expansion of awareness is remarkable. Within CDCR, this is a cross-functional division effort and an opportunity to spread information, education, and awareness Department-wide. During the event, it’s very fulfilling to help those in our disabled community see the potentials and positives in working at CDCR,” said DAC Chairperson Jan Hagen. “When we reached out for assistance in getting supplies to make the event happen, the Office of Public and Employee Communications, Office of Personnel Services, the Office of Peace Officer Selection, and Enterprise Information Services jumped into action, providing us with a canopy, chairs, signage and volunteer personnel to make our presence known and our participation a success. Food and other necessary items were donated by those who volunteered at the event. It’s fantastic knowing I work for a Department that supports the rights and needs of our disabled workforce. I’m proud to be part of the DAC.”

Setup for the event began at 8 a.m. and ended late in the afternoon. Information was provided to all who inquired, and CDCR employees came to check out the fair, driving from other institutions in the region.

“My experience with DAC has only been positive, as the group of volunteers truly cares about DAC’s goals and functions” said John McFadyen, Chief of OCR. “I have a passion for ensuring fairness and equal rights for everyone, and DAC helps CDCR accomplish those things for its employees.”

CDCR employees interested in becoming a member of the DAC or who would like more information, email DAC@CDCR.CA.GOV

“We always welcome new members, as long as they have their manager’s authorization, a genuine desire to help those with disabilities and can actively participate. Exclusion is not part of our vocabulary,” Hagen said.