Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Awareness Month highlights Veterans living with spinal cord injury and disease (SCI/D), all Veterans with disabilities, and the people, programs, and services that make their lives easier.
We’re proud to recognize our own service-disabled employees for the sacrifices they have made for our country, and their contributions to our customers. We met with Jorge Chirinos, Quality Assurance Analyst at J.Lodge, a Cognosante company, to gather insight on his experiences as a service-disabled Veteran and how Cognosante has provided a valuable career experience.
Jorge, tell us about your journey to finding employment at J.Lodge/Cognosante. How did PVA play a role?
I first heard about the J.Lodge Quality Analyst position through the PVA Veterans Career Program, formerly known as PAVE, which provides free employment support and vocational counseling assistance to all Veterans, transitioning service members, spouses, and caregivers. The PVA helped me build my resume and connected me with J.Lodge, which offers remote employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. I recommend any Veteran experiencing paralysis as a result of their time in service contact the PVA to learn more about the resources available to them.
Please elaborate on some of the challenges you experienced while transitioning from the military with a disability? Is there valuable insight you can share for someone who may be in a similar position?
Transitioning away from the military has its share of obstacles, especially if you are service-disabled. Thankfully, my family has been crucial to helping me move forward. I had to figure out how I was going to achieve the goals I had previously set for myself, all while adjusting to this “new normal.” If there is one thing my injury has taught me, it is who I can count on through times of adversity. For those who may be going through a similar situation, I recommend staying focused on goals you have set for yourself and to take every experience as a learning opportunity, which will further prepare you for the challenges ahead.
Why is PVA Awareness month significant? What does it mean to you, personally?
PVA Awareness Month was originally intended as a day to raise awareness of Veterans living with a spinal cord injury, but it has grown into a month-long celebration that also highlights the importance of the people who make up a veterans’ support network. I continue to take advantage of the support I receive from the PVA and the coaching I received from Genia Hachenberg, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Her dedication and commitment to my success has made a lasting impact and taught me how even a weekly phone call can make a world of difference to my day.
Tell us more about your role as a Quality Analyst and your favorite thing about working for J.Lodge?
As a Quality Analyst, I am currently part of a team that ensures that individuals seeking funeral assistance due to COVID-19 receive the high-quality customer service they deserve. J. Lodge allows me to perform this job from home and provides me with the equipment and training I need to do my job well. I enjoy helping others, and in this role, I feel like I am making a difference. From an employer standpoint, I am impressed by the schedule flexibility J.Lodge offers, and the good communication and support we have within our team.
How can employers advance and expand disability inclusion? What specific actions they should take?
Employers should be open-minded about the talents that prospective employees bring to the table and make every effort to be aware of and avoid bias. Additionally, employers should educate other employees about the challenges that individuals with disabilities often face to help foster a deeper understanding. By empowering employees to work through challenges together, employers can facilitate diverse thought and an inclusive work environment as well. J.Lodge does a good job of enabling individuals living with disabilities to gain confidence and be more productive through employment. The company provides the tools needed to successfully perform the job.
Cognosante is committed to advancing healthcare, services, and meaningful employment opportunities to individual with disabilities and service-disabled Veterans. Through our J. Lodge subsidiary, we provide opportunities for highly-skilled individuals with disabilities to pursue careers in a flexible, remote setting. We support causes that advocate for inclusion, and drive innovative solutions that will improve the quality, access, and responsiveness of healthcare for all.