Crouch tours Cummins to learn more about accessibility for disabled workers

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Indiana Lt. Gov. and gubernatorial candidate Suzanne Crouch visited Columbus on Tuesday and met with Cummins Inc. leaders to highlight a company she said is a leader in increasing employment opportunities for Hoosiers with disabilities.

Crouch privately toured Cummins’ headquarters along with a group that included Kim Dodson, CEO of The Arc of Indiana, and Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop, who said the tour was an opportunity to learn about unseen barriers facing disabled workers.

As lieutenant governor, Crouch chairs the state’s Intellectual and Developmental Disability Task Force and noted there are about 160,000 Hoosiers with autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.

“We have 146,00 jobs that are unfilled in Indiana, and so we have a population that wants to work and we want to be able to have opportunities for them to have employment, because they have an 80% unemployment rate,” Crouch said.

Some potential employers, however, “don’t even think about them being part of the workforce,” she said. “… Not only are they good workers, but they also lift up the workforce and lift up the morale because of their delight and joy” that comes with employment.

Dodson noted Crouch’s visit is a prelude to Employment Disability Awareness Month in October.

“Cummins has a strong relationship with our chapter here in Columbus, the Arc of Bartholomew County,” and works toward helping find opportunities for disabled people who want to work while also helping workplaces develop welcoming environments, Dodson noted.

“Cummins has been a model for a while, and they’re doing some great things,” she said. “We want them to be a model for the rest of the state.”

Crouch is one of several Republicans seeking to succeed term-limited Gov. Eric Holcomb in next year’s election. Other announced candidates include these Republicans: Sen. Mike Braun, former Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, Fort Wayne businesman Eric Doden, former Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and Jamie Reitenour. Thus far, former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick is the only announced Democratic candidate.