During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we are saluting people who have stepped ahead, above and beyond in the name of equitable opportunity and employment for people with disabilities.

In a time of worker shortages and employment uncertainty, actively attracting and hiring people with disabilities is a way to recruit a dedicated workforce, boost DEI efforts that benefit everyone, and enhance overall business success by adding different perspectives and ways of thinking.

Meet Tyler Hurlbut
MDI location: Cohasset
Hometown: Grand Rapids
Job title: Assembler 1
Started working at MDI: 2015

Tyler Hurlbut’s MDI evolution – from a high school graduate to a professional adult

Tyler Hurlbut started working at MDI right out of high school. Like many 18-year-olds, he was green and had some maturing to do. Today, seven years later, he’s one of the most versatile workers at MDI’s Cohasset facility. On any given day, you’ll see him folding totes, labeling boxes, performing ultrasonic welding, doing custodial work or mentoring new employees.

“I’ve worked here for a while now, so I want to be a good role model for newer employees and help them do their jobs,” said Tyler. “For example, I teach them a trick that I’ve learned for folding boxes because they can be stubborn.”

Tyler says he feels supported at MDI because there are job coaches who check on him and genuinely care about him.

“I love MDI because the people treat me with respect,” he said. “During my time here I’ve become more patient, a better listener and a problem solver.”

His growth in soft skills allowed Tyler to get a second job in 2021, when one of MDI’s placement specialists helped him get a part-time job at Country Kitchen in Grand Rapids.

“Since getting a second job, I’ve matured, and my attitude has improved even more. The variety has helped me grow,” said Tyler. “Having two jobs helps my confidence because it gives me purpose and a reason to get out of bed every morning. I wouldn’t trade my jobs for anything.”

Read all Ability Pioneer articles here.