Stevens Point woman proves disability is no barrier in the workforce

By Holly Chilsen, WSAW-TV (Channel 7)

 

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -- For nearly 9 years, Jeanne Peplinski has been going to Community Animal Hospital in Stevens Point.
 
"I'm a cleaner," said Peplinski.
 
She does it with a smile and a laugh you could call infectious.
 
"She just has a very good laugh. Everyone's drawn to her," smiled Sue Suehring, Jeanne's co-worker.
 
Peplinski is happy to be a part of the working class and doesn't let her developmental disabilities stand in her way.
 
"I didn't like cats before, now I like them. I didn't talk to the animals, now I talk to the animals," said Peplinski.
 
Thursday she hosted "Take your Legislator to Work" day and gave Senator Julie Lassa and Representative Katrina Shankland, both of Stevens Point, a behind-the-scenes look at the work she does.
 
"Kind of see the other side of it and be with someone who works so hard everyday with great pride," Rep. Shankland said.
 
Peplinski's co-workers say she has every reason to be proud of her job.
 
"She's always very positive, very happy when she comes in. She's a hard worker. She's a good part of the clinic and a good part of the family," said Suehring.
 
"Feels pretty good," smiled Peplinski.
 
Rep. Shankland says statistics show that employees with disabilities tend to stay working in the area.
 
"People who are willing to stick it out in a long-term employer environment are not only developing great-quality skills, they're developing relationships with customers or the people they serve," explained Shankland.
 
For as long as she is able, Peplinksi will continue her work here.
 
"Probably the rest of my life," Peplinksi laughed.
 
At the same time, she's showing that barriers can be overcome with dedication, confidence and the occasional laugh.
 
4,875 disabled workers were successfully placed in jobs in 2015, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.