Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Does America Have a Sustainable Culture?

Excerpts from a speech delivered by AtWork! CEO, Chris Brandt, at the AtWork! 2010 Breakfast, March 25th, 2010.

Last week I was driving between Issaquah and Bellevue with a talk radio show playing in the background. I wasn’t paying much attention because I was thinking about what I would say to you all today. I mulled over the theme sustainability and what it takes to sustain a person with disabilities in a good job and how employers benefit from including people with disabilities in a sustainable workforce. Then I started thinking about the things that make our society sustainable and the issues that continue to plague us like homelessness, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, and an unemployment rate of 75% for working age adults with disabilities.

My ears perked up, as the radio announcer said: “I’m no longer certain that America has a sustainable culture.”

How often does that happen? There you are intensely reflecting and the radio host starts talking about your deepest thoughts. I was flabbergasted and started paying attention. I learned that for the radio host, a culture is only sustainable if people keep their commitments, even if the going gets rough and the culture provides an easy escape from responsibility. He was talking about people who are upside down in their mortgages walking away and into foreclosure even though they can still afford their house payments.

The question for his listeners: “Is it ever okay to walk away from your legal commitments, your promises?” The call-ins to the show were split and those that advocated for walking away based their decisions on the circumstances of the moment.

Read this blog on April 29, to learn about how AtWork! is contributing to a sustainable culture.

posted by AtWork! at


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