Doug Crandell is a national subject matter expert in Supported Employment, with expertise working with individuals with severe mental illness; and developmental disabilities. Doug is also and award winning author with both fiction and non-fiction books published. In this episode he speaks about his work helping states shape and improve their supports of individuals with disabilities, his writing and more. Doug is passionate, creative, informed and a great story teller. It's an important episode for disability advocates across the board, but especially individuals in the supported employment field, from state leadership, to DSP's and employment specialists.
Link to Griffin-Hammis Associates: Here
Link to UGA Institute on Human Development and Disability: Here
Doug's Literary Page: Here
Tell the Valued Story: Here
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Naveh Eldar 0:17
Welcome to the landscape, a podcast to shed light on the people, programs and businesses that are changing the landscape for individuals with any type of disability. I'm your host Naveh Eldar. Today's guest Doug Crandall is a national subject matter expert on supported employment, with expertise working with individuals with severe mental illness, and developmental disabilities. Oh, and he's also an award winning author, not to mention beating out a former president of the United States as writer of the Year in Georgia. We speak about that, as well as his work with the University of Georgia, and Griffin hamis Associates. If you are new to the podcast, I hope you subscribe, share with friends, and leave a review on Apple podcast. Now, today's conversation start with Doug talking about his work with Griffin hamis Associates.
Doug Cranell 1:12
I started working with Griffin Hammis when I was a provider, I wrote a demonstration grant for the Office of Disability Employment Policy for customized employment, and then received something you're an expert in the IPS grant, as well, from the Social Security Administration and others at Dartmouth. So, you know, I wanted to do a better job as a provider. And I met Carrie Griffin, a number of years ago, I've known him about 30 years. And so I started bringing them to Georgia to help me to help train staff to help us understand just a different way of doing things. And of course, Kerry's pretty well known for a comment that he makes. And that is that unemployment isn't a flaw in the system. It is the system. And so from the get go Griffin hamis has been focused on saying why do we do this this way? Why do we spend so much money and time and resources on what's wrong with people rather than what's right? And how can we build systems around that. And so, Griffin hamis has been active for over 20 years, as as you mentioned there in 25. States, so I'm I'm just a consultant for them. my full time job is that the you said at the University of Georgia, the Institute on human development disability, but I combine those two and try to make my work in my own state reflect what's going on with Griffin PMS, and that informs everything that I do then when I go work in other states as well.
Naveh Eldar 2:47
When people come to you as a consultant, what do you do? How do you support them?
Doug Cranell 2:52
Well, that ranges from everything from state policy, right? How do you remove barriers, collaborate more, all of those things that, that we've been doing for a long time, down to working with families and plummet specialists on the ground, which is my favorite part. I'm a sibling to sister with disabilities and have disability and mental health and all that stuff. Like most families, by the way, in my life and in my family. And so meeting other people who are trying to navigate a system that is, in my opinion, fairly broken at both on the mental health side, and I think on the developmental disability side. And so as I'm doing that, sometimes that that work with an individual job seeker, or family, or provider agency ends up informing what needs to happen at the state level, because those things are very connected as you will now
Naveh Eldar 3:52
there's a few things that I know what I think of when I think Griffin hamis Associates, and one of them is discovering personal genius. This was this, I'll let you explain what it is. So what what is this service that is provided? And how did it come about?
Doug Cranell 4:08
Well, when people hear the phrase discovering personal genius, they pretty quickly recognize it's an audacious statement, right? And it's probably the best way to capture, right? What we do, in other words, to say that and be working with systems that say, first we got to figure out what's wrong with you. And then we're going to treat that and build that and keep building that for decades. Instead of saying all of us have strengths all of us have something that makes us a genius in some area. And do you have to look harder, of course, I'm certainly an example of that. I think we all are, but it is predicated on this idea of several things. One, setting matters when You are, who you're around how you're treated, how you were motivated, impact our performance. But in the disability industrial complex performance has been viewed through one very tiny lens. And that is productivity. I met a mom wants that said you don't understand, my son's only 17% productive. What a, what a terrible thing to do to a human being and a mother to reduce somebody to, by the way, an arbitrary productivity is 0% productive on Excel spreadsheets. Right? I'm employed. But in the disability industrial complex, we spend all this time on that. So discovering personal genius is his person centered career planning. It's hands on, and the way I describe it to families or job seekers is, we want to know you so well. Everything that when we begin to engage an employer, we can tailor that employment situation to you, not the other way around.
Naveh Eldar 6:12
Right? You know, I love that because I was reading specifically your this, this discovering personal genius, and some literature on it. And, and they said, you know, we want to know you better than what your caregivers think about you what your main supports think about you. And the reason why I like that is because 99% of the time, if you go to somebody whose main support and say, Hey, what do you think about this person getting a job, they'd name a grocery store, or they name you know, they just, it's just so limiting in their vision? Because, again, they're they're thinking of where have I seen people with disabilities work instead of, you know, what, where would this person enjoy working? And so I love that you've built this system of really finding what is somebody's interests and, and skills and all of those things. So love it.
Doug Cranell 7:09
You know, now, vai, I was just gonna say that the discovering personal genius, as we kind of tap out of that one of my favorite parts in that processes is knowing someone's endearing traits, endearing traits, endearing the read of the root of that word is the love it right of the heart. And so what gets us jobs, what keeps us employed? It's not the things that we're not great at. It's not any of those things that we consider. It's what we bring to the table when someone says, I like being around that person because of these endearing traits. And to me, that's so powerful.
Naveh Eldar 7:49
Right, right. Something that we've been struggling with it. And I say we'd as a small group of us is self employment. You know, it's just difficult. It's difficult to wrap your brain around everything you need to know, to getting people up to speed on what it takes to be successful in self employment. But I know that's something that you also tackle. So can you talk a little bit about how you look at self employment? Yeah,
Doug Cranell 8:17
I mean, that was a route, kind of motivator for Kerry Griffin and Dave hamis. I mean, they were, they were looking at self employment for folks that most people wouldn't consider, you know, decades ago. This is older data. But it's from the RSA Rehabilitation Services Administration's data, that that less than 3% of closed VR cases nationally are in self employment, yet, about 30% of Americans have miscellaneous income from self employment. And so this, this approach says, you now, maybe my medications impact me in the morning, pretty significantly. So I can job developer around that, or I can be my own boss. But just like all the other work that Griffin hamis has done, it challenges the system, right? It says maybe, if it's a micro enterprise, right, I don't need a 35 page business plan. But vocational rehabilitation is, is now I think, much more invested in that on the federal level. And last fall, Griffin hamis, along with some other organizations, VCU actually, Virginia Commonwealth University, received funding for a five year grant around training vocational rehabilitation systems in self employment in a new and different way, one that meets the needs of the 21st century, being self employed, whether you call it the gig economy or getting your hustle on or whatever it is, we want to make that so that it says vailable to folks at this same rate as folks who are considered without disability. So there's also a great book by Carrie Griffin and Dave hamis. Making self employment work for people with disabilities, it's a great read, very useful as well.
Naveh Eldar 10:15
And I know that we're actually going to talk about your other life besides outside of Griffin hammers, associates, but you are. So we have providers I work for under the Medicaid system here in Tennessee. And then we have providers who actually do the services, I'm kind of describing it for the audience. And so those providers have to have certain qualifications, right, we have to be assure that they know what they're doing. And one of the national certifications is through Griffin Hammond. So that's something big that you guys do as you train people from across the country.
Doug Cranell 10:51
That's right. It's endorsed by an entity called the Association of Community rehabilitation educators acre. And we teach the discovering personal genius approach, the informational interview, Customized Employment and job development, all of that in a in a curriculum. But where it works best, of course, is you know, not as when you get to do that, you get to think about it and work with a community of practice. But then as you start to implement, you need someone to mentor you, right? Somebody kind of side by side, and I love doing that I've, in the last five years, I've gotten to work in Utah, and California, Tennessee, Virginia, Rhode Island, of course, my home state of Georgia. And I think what's so cool about that is you get to learn best practices from other people. Ostensibly, I'm supposed to be teaching best practices. But when you come into a with some humility, and understanding that the system itself needs all of us to fix it, then I think you can really embrace all of those new skill sets that you can pick up every day, right?
Naveh Eldar 12:03
Absolutely. Right. You know, I am considered a subject matter expert here in Tennessee and supported employment. And sometimes I'll be at trainings, and people will say, hey, how do you know so much? And how do you? How do you you know, and I say, every training I go to, I learned something. So it's kind of unfair, because I get to learn from people in Memphis and Chattanooga and Nashville, in small towns right? In so it, like you said, I always go into it, thinking, I'm going to learn something today to write and which will just make me better. And then I can share it, what's your next next training that I do? And I give credit to people, I'll say, Hey, I learned this, Memphis, and all that kind of good stuff. So the last thing, the last thing and Griffin hamis Associates I wanted to touch on was that I know you also have a focus on financial well being because really, at the root of all this, we want people to be financially healthy, believe it or not, like that is the point is not is not for them just to be entertained, right? It's for them to like, have a drive and be able to do things financially. So how do you guys support that? Yeah, well,
Doug Cranell 13:12
you're exactly right. Griffin hammock has always been rooted in work incentives, training and planning and, and even more than that asset development, you know, you can point to a lot of things nationally, that maybe we still need a lot of progress on, but ABLE accounts, truly embracing work incentives, and making sure that people truly have informed choice. Look, one of my pet peeves is when someone says, and you hear this from human service folks all the time, well, they could go to work, but they don't want to lose that check. Right? Well, guess what, neither do you, you wouldn't put your your check at risk. And you're asking somebody who makes much less and is having to survive on that amount of money per month to take a big risk. So we really do believe that having true and assessable concrete information about what it means when I make that decision. And being empathetic that, again, all of us have financial needs and things that we need to consider as we're going to work and I think we could do as a system just a lot better than what we are now even with, you know, our work incentives Planning and Assistance Programs. I think that needs to be much more widespread. And Griffin hamis often train social security folks on the work incentives that are actually Social Security. So it's not my forte, but it is for Griffin Hemis, and that's a really proud part of the the legacy for sure.
Naveh Eldar 14:48
Yeah, people really have to check out the website and see everything that Griffin hamis entails because it's a lot. It's a name that if you work in this field, especially around support employment, that You know, like everybody knows that name, a name that I did not always associate until the last, I don't know, four or five years is your other employer, which is the University of Georgia. So you are with the University of Georgia's Institute on human development and disability, which is, again, that's correct. One of the great providers of information and training in the country. And one, how did this land in the University of Georgia in the first place? I don't know if you know that. But I would love to hear about your role there and how the University of Georgia became so big in this.
Doug Cranell 15:40
Well, we're a you set as well. Of course, every state has a you set a University Center on excellence and developmental disabilities. But I think what people often get wrong as they think that it is only related to developmental disabilities. For seven years here in Georgia, I acted through the University of Georgia as our state trainer for IPS and mental health, and continue to do that work through HDD at UGA. But I've been there a little over a decade, I made the decision to leave the provider agency world after 20 plus years, and thought I could be a better use in the university setting. And so the way that that works with Griffin hamma says, it just informs everything I'm doing within my own state. So my major role at the University of Georgia's I'm the project director for our State Technical Assistance Center on best practices in employment supports advancing employment Comm. So I do training the Aker training, I still do IPS training, often I'll get asked by job seekers and families to to help. So next month, I'm going to statesboro, Georgia to help there. We also put out not a request for assistance to providers. So each year, one or two providers can fill out a simple application and say, Look, we want to build our competitive integrated employment, we want to make that a bigger focus of what we're doing. And so all of that work really is focused on the state of Georgia. But as we just mentioned before, a little earlier, it informs everything I do from the other states as well.
Naveh Eldar 17:29
And so I believe out of the University of Georgia, there's also this new initiative called valued story. Is it out of the University of Georgia? Yeah. So can you tell us what is that initiative?
Doug Cranell 17:42
Yeah, it's, it's called tell the valued story. And you can see it it tell the valued story calm. It came out of NaVi to just be brutally honest, our own state agencies have struggled with putting out great stories. And last year, in the fall, they chose to amplify a story about seven folks with the labels of intellectual developmental disabilities, volunteering, to pick up trash at Parks and Rec during a global pandemic. and amplify that story to say, this is best practice. And we were deeply disappointed myself and others at the University of Georgia, but lots and lots of advocates across the state. And we said, Why is it you know, that, that that would be amplified? What's the problem here? And so we formed tell the valued story, calm, and essentially, we just got our first dab of funding for it, which is always a thrill. But we will hire self advocates, who've been trained in something from the National Center on disability in journalism, which is a great nctj.org in collaboration with our, our staff around how do you tell a story that's not about a disability label, it's about lived experience endearing traits, and choosing to amplify the stories that reduce stigma and stereotype across all disabilities, and amplify the lived experience. And so our first class of we hope about a dozen self advocates will be trained in June. And they'll be the story auditors who if I'm a provider, and I want somebody from tell the valued story, to look at my newsletter, they can look at it, review it, say, Hey, this is really good. You're really capturing the value stories, or, as in the case I mentioned earlier, you probably shouldn't amplify people volunteering, picking up trash. Let's focus on another story. And so it's so needed and then I'll guess I'll just say now because it's so powerful. So many folks have in the mainstream now have gotten to know and read about Judy, human's efforts around disability rights. And her book being human is fantastic. But we really go by her mantra, and her mantra is television. newsprint, bureaucracies, still don't understand how to tell the stories, and you must have lived experience within that. So I can't be teaching people about what that means I've not lived within these bureaucracies. So we hope we're creating a platform where folks who don't get a chance to be heard, one can be have the training and skills to do that, and three, be paid for their work and their lived experience. So we're really excited about it. And we'll be writing our first Foundation grant here in a couple months.
Naveh Eldar 20:54
So how big a scope would you like this to be? Like? These are stories that are going to be told, are they going to be written? Are they going to be short? Are they going to be short films? Are there going to be news? You know, on television that we'll see what what is the scope?
Doug Cranell 21:09
Well, the scope, as we say, is from the agency newsletter to the front page news. That's why we wanted to incorporate the National Center on disability in journalism. That's a era's Arizona State University at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. And they've really taken the lead with journalists to say,
Unknown Speaker 21:28
Doug Cranell 21:29
maybe you don't need to report on somebody has mental illness, it has nothing to do with the story. Or maybe, instead of portraying somebody with the label of Down syndrome, as childlike or in a center, sometimes you'll you'll see this stuff where it's inspirational, that somebody in a wheelchair has done something that, you know, it's a commonplace thing to do. So they've really been able to challenge the journalists to do that. But you don't see that in our bureaucracies, our bureaucracies rarely think about the stories they're telling from a provider agency to VR, dd or mental health agency. So we hope to do a little bit of all of it, and the medium for that will be print and video and storytelling. One of the things we focused on early on is kind of a, it's kind of a bridge between tell the valued story and our work in employment. So we've really been focusing on visual resumes. We've got a great filmmaker here named Karl King, Carl's a genius, and he's really been helping us learn about what is a video resume look like? How do you capture those endearing traits? How does that impact them? How an employer might view somebody? So we we try to connect both of those as we're doing tell the valued story.
Naveh Eldar 22:56
I'm going to talk later about how we met each other, which I did not know you had to remind me through email, we got we got connected. Yeah, we got connected and and we'll tell that story later. But when we did meet, after you reminded me, one of the things that we connected on is the fact that I have experience on the mental health side with people with severe and persistent mental illness and intellectual developmental disability, which usually is two separate silos. And so usually somebody has tried to use in one or the other. So how in the world did you end up also in both sides of the fence?
Doug Cranell 23:35
You know, that's a that's a great question of AI. I can only say it's someone named Dr. Steve Hall. Dr. Hall, coincidentally is retiring this month. He is the policy guy at Griffin hamis. But he was the DD and mental health commissioner in Kentucky and Georgia. Ran provider agencies in Colorado, he hired me when I was 22. I'll celebrate 31 years, this fall in these this idea of supported employment. And I didn't know what it was. I was the first one to go to college in my family, first generation, you know, factory workers, fast food workers, farmers, that's what I come from. And he must have recognized something and hired me in 1992, to be that to be an employment specialist. And because he always viewed employment across disabilities, he was already working with community mental health and supported employment while he was directing an agency that was focused on intellectual and developmental disabilities. So I've, I've had a great honor to be able to work across those systems. And as you know, people are people are people and so labeled doesn't matter. It's looking for those things that people can contribute. So definitely Dr. Hall, set me on that. For sure,
Naveh Eldar 25:01
yes, that is awesome. I love it. Because you can learn so much from knowing both systems, the cut, because they are there are different types of supports. And you mentioned individual placement support, for example, which isn't on, but that's where the mental health side, but they have elements that are very helpful for anybody tried to be able to bring it to the track. The other side is great. I want to talk a little bit more about your work in Employment First. Now, I did meet you, we found out because you were helping Tennessee with the State Leadership mentoring program, or the I'm sorry, the Employment First State Leadership mentoring program with a wonderful acronym, EF s. LMP, which is ridiculous that we would have to say that. So can you explain in that was under that was under the office of disability policy, which is under the Department of Labor? That's a lot of acronyms and a lot of information. But can you tell us what was your role? And what was that program?
Doug Cranell 26:09
It essentially started with trying to look at what our states that have, you know, better competitive integrated employment rates doing differently than the rest of the country. And so about a decade ago, the office Disability Employment Policy, which, by the way, interesting note, for people who aren't familiar with our our work, in the United States, there was not a sub unit of federal government solely dedicated to employment and disability until 2001. Right, we're only celebrating two decades. And we weren't even counting with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment by disability label, right? We didn't even know what those were. So the Office of Disability Employment Policy with their creative minds came up with this idea of trying to help states learn from one another just like we were talking about before. And so we would do landscape assessments. And my big piece of for Tennessee was really looking at not only some IPS stuff, there was some of that, but but really looking at some self employment, it was a pleasure. Because as you know, Tennessee's done so many great things around removing those barriers at the Nash or the excuse me, the state level. And so I got to work with the task force, I got to work with individual folks. And then we would create deliverables. And that was a lot of fun. We worked with the Kennedy Center and other partners to to deliver that. Unfortunately, Georgia, my own state came calling and I had to refocus my energies from FSL. MP, back to Georgia, and I haven't done anything without DEP for a couple years now.
Naveh Eldar 28:00
Okay, you just do so much. And your reach has been so far. And I love the fact that to me that you came from a provider agency, right? Because I think that and that's just very To me, that's key. And that's where, if you're in this field, you had to have worked hands on supporting people at some point in time. I know you are a strong believer in evidence based practices as well. Can you talk about the importance of evidence based practices and the fact that they're kind of thin in this field, like To be honest, I, I can remember, I've been around for a little while. And I remember like, we would have complete shifts in how we deliver services like every five, six years, because there was no best price. There was no research being done at all, it was just based on gut feeling. So I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that.
Doug Cranell 28:54
Man, what an insightful question. Well, there was a paucity of evidence based practices. And so when Dr. Drake and Dr. Gary bond and the folks at Dartmouth start doing their work in the late 90s, and then the randomized control trials, you know, the early 2000s, it's important for folks to know that that work has informed so much of what is happening at the national level. But we often say this, we couldn't even as a field agree on what to call a job. Right? We couldn't agree on what that even meant. We I'm still working with state agencies that debate should we call the person a client, a consumer or a job seeker? And so this lack of knowing what works in the research, you're absolutely right. And here's an interesting little tidbit, I think you'll love Dr. Gary bond and Dr. Steve Hall, who I talked about earlier, have known each other for decades. So about five years ago, Griffin hammer said, if we're going to impact this system, we've got to mirror what has happened on the IPS side and get busy researching that LD scales. And so now Griffin hamis has three separate fidelity scales. One for discovery, it's been published in five or six different journal articles more coming. Another one for customized job development. And then this third one that's just recently rolled out in California, all about how do you truly use coworkers and supervisors as trainers and less of a job coach being there for two decades on a Medicaid waiver? Right. And so that part to me is so fun to watch the inner workings of that behind the scenes. When I get down, right, when I feel like we're not moving enough, I can now say, on the mental health side, and on the iddt side, their fidelity scales, their evidence based practices, there's no going back. We know what a job is. We know it helps people. And imagine 20 years ago in community mental health, we would say the person's not ready. Or at discharge, they can have a job, right? It's an aftercare issue. But because of that groundbreaking work, now we say, hey, guess what? To feel good to recover, to participate your community, economically and socially. You got to have some money. Right? You got to have a roll. Yeah. And I think that's just fantastic.
Naveh Eldar 31:34
So like, I had a physical reaction when you told me that about the the fidelity style, let me tell you why. So I was a statewide trainer for individual placement support, which is research based. Fidelity is 25.5 ld scale. So I saw that Griffin hamis, Griffin hamis Associates also had a fidelity scale for their Discovery Service. And I looked at it I was reading it. And I was like, wow, first of all, this is awesome that they have one. And second of all, it has some elements from IPS in it. And I didn't realize or some influence, it looked like and I didn't realize that they literally hit collaborate at some or has some kind of conversations around it.
Doug Cranell 32:16
Yes, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, very great. They've known each other for for decades. And yeah, it was really neat to see that happen.
Naveh Eldar 32:25
So the last thing I want to talk about officially, although something may pop in my head before then is that you are a writer. And, and this isn't like a small phrase like, so I'll let you tell us about your writing. But you are you, my friend have quite an extensive writing career as well, you. You're like a renaissance man. You just use just do so many things. And you're all over the place. So tell us about your writing.
Doug Cranell 32:51
That's, that's awfully nice. Thank you doesn't feel that way. But yeah, I tell people, I work in human services. And I work as a writer, and I managed to make a meager income. And mostly because we know that it's tough to make make money in either one of those fields. But you know, the writing for me has been just something you know, sometimes you're just born with something I can't play any musical instrument can't sing. can't do any of that. But reading and writing have always been things I've loved. And so yeah, I have a literary agent in New York City I published with Penguin Random House I published with smaller presses like Chicago review press, and Northern Illinois University Press. My book that's coming out next year is the first book that officially has everything to do with our field. And it's called 22 cents an hour, disability rights and the fight to end sub minimum wages. And that should be out early spring of 2022. And it really looks at our our field. And this idea that we're still debating after more than seven decades of sub minimum wages for folks with disabilities. And it's still legal federally to do that, right. But it also takes a look at how much lobbying and how much trade organizations and lobbyists on K Street and DC influence our work in our field. And I think that's that was shocking to me, to be honest, as I started doing the research, and a little disappointing, but that there are two bills and in Congress now that will hopefully overturn that. But in any case, the other books which are fiction memoir, I did do a true crime book about some murders that occurred in Santa Claus, Georgia that had a lot of addiction and foster care elements in it, but I've always tried to meld together, whether it's from my own family disability and mental illness and physical illness in these And I've done the same with the fiction as well. It's just a way to, I guess, cope one way. And then just most recently, which has been fun for me. I've published four short stories in something called Ellery Queen mystery magazine, the oldest mystery magazine in the United States. I used to read it when I was a kid. And the one that was included in 2019 has a, you know, a character with the label of Down syndrome. So I just try to combine those things in ways that can lend itself to storytelling.
Naveh Eldar 35:37
So your publisher brags on you a little bit about your I don't know, brag is the right word. It's like the throne a little bit of shade, if I'm gonna be honest, towards one of our past presidents of the United States. Yeah. So you want to you want to play card? Yes, you want to tell about this?
Doug Cranell 35:56
Yeah, I. So I, the first book is called pig boys wicked bird. And it's a memoir about growing up on a pig farm in Indiana. And I had two fingers severed in a farming accident as a kid. And, you know, that's kind of traumatic when you're seven. But I was a huge fan of Jimmy Carter. And it was during his his campaign. And so then full circle. Three years later, I wrote the or published rather, the all American industrial motel, which is about working with my father in a ceiling, tile factory. And true story about his addiction, my addiction, substance use factory life, which really kind of gives itself away to substance use. And that was a tough book to write. My folks didn't really love it. But my mother, who was always quite a character, found out that it beat out Jimmy Carter for the Georgia author of the Year award. And she was fine with it then fine with the family secrets. But, but I never as I say, I never got a call from President Carter saying that he, you know, was okay with me winning. But it was it was neat. It was a neat thing to happen. I got to say
Naveh Eldar 37:13
it was nice. When I read it. I'm like, yeah, that's pretty cool that Yes, Mr. Carter print. I'm sorry. Yes, President Carter. Unfortunately, I'm a slightly better writer than you are. Great guy. I do want to step back. You were talking and I want to know if you can give us a little bit of a sneak peek at your next book. Can you give us one example of how big business has impacted our work? That intrigued me like immediately, because I'm very interested in things like that?
Doug Cranell 37:49
Yeah. Yeah. Like I said, Nava, it was a shock to me. Look, I mean, I think we've always known in the field of supportive employment and customized employment, that we're trying to dismantle the old system. And that's very hard to do. But prior to doing this research, I was pretty naive about how much particularly trade organizations at the national level and lobbyists influence it. And so, in 2011, you might recall, let me say this in 2009, the story of the man, Henry's turkey service service in Iowa, was kind of revealed to everybody these, these men that were essentially human trafficked from Texas institutions, to Iowa to work for pennies on the hour in this turkey slaughtering business. And even as far back as 1978. There were stories about the abuse, but they were not saved until 2009. Some of the men tried to run away, and when they'd run away, the people who own the business would track them down and bring the back and on some occasions, chain them to their bands.
Naveh Eldar 39:02
Oh, my gosh,
Doug Cranell 39:03
well, that happened in 2009. Yeah, yeah. So this happens in 2009. The policy makers, people even who were not in our field, started to say, now what is this? What's going on with the sub minimum wage peace. And so Dr. Mark Miller at the National Federation for the blind, started to think about what role could they take because they've been involved in testifying before Congress and saying, sub minimum wages are a violation, civil rights, and they really felt like, Okay, if we got Henry's turkey service, this horrible situation, surely that's going to give us some momentum. And so they did a Freedom of Information request and found that goodwill was paying some folks on the record 22 cents an hour. And so some momentum began in Congress for a bill in 2011 called the fair wages for workers with disabilities act. And as I started the research now they I found out that some very prominent names and Human Services along with lobbyists and trade organizations, were actually lobbying against something called the fair wages for workers with disabilities act. And I was shocked at that. And I think for me, the history of bad public policy is certainly seen in what is called 14 C's, you know, the Fair Labor Standards Act, section 14 c authorized that you could pay people sub minimum wages. But the fact that we're still here in 2021, as we're talking about fair wages for everybody, debating if that should be the case, for workers, who have been forced to work for some minimum wages, to me is is a real shame. I'm not a big fan of either the bills, because it seems to reward the same entities that we're fighting against doing away with sub minimum wages. So we'll see. I think there's a lot of debate yet still for for those two bills.
Naveh Eldar 41:06
Yeah, thank you for that sneak peek. And that sounds like something I definitely look forward to get my hands on once it comes out. So now is the is the point of the show where I get to ask a few personal questions. The first one is I love it. Okay. It's so funny. Don't ask me. Don't ask me what made me think to ask this, but it popped in my head like, a couple of days ago. And I'm like, it's the most awkward question. But it's my show. And I'm gonna ask it, which is, when is the last time you watched something and cried? What was the last time you watched a movie or a commercial and cry?
Doug Cranell 41:51
That is a great question. Let me see. I gotta be honest, I'm a I'm a pushover. You know, I've cried about anything, I guess I would say, um, can I say something I've read that made me cry?
Naveh Eldar 42:07
Doug Cranell 42:10
I don't I don't watch that much television, sometimes documentaries. But I think I'm really touched by memoir, right? And how people tell their stories. And just poetry to you know, real poetry that that, you know, not not the ones that are Hallmark cards, but really, kind of showing what it's like to be human. So, I'm reading this is gonna be a weird answer. But I'm reading a novel right now by a guy named sa Crosby, sa Crosby. And it's called black top wasteland. And ostensibly, it's a it's a crime novel. But he is nailing what it means to, I think, live in our culture, particularly as a man and not being able to cry at movies or something you've read. And so there's a great description in it. Again, the author is sa Crosby. He won the Los Angeles Times Book Award for this book. But he's describing seeing his daughter at a gas station. And he does, he doesn't know he's gonna see her right. So she's obviously young adult. And the way describes it, you got to be a dad. Yeah, to get that vulnerability. You know, to see your child out in the world, but they don't know you see them and watching that it. Yeah, choke me up. Yeah. It's a great question. Do I get to ask you that question.
Naveh Eldar 43:43
You don't want to know the answer. Yeah, I do. Come on. It's, it's embarrassing, but you know, hey, we should be allowed to embarrass ourselves. So I was watching the Netflix show Stranger Things. And at the end of season three, you know, got pretty emotional, ironically, between a father and daughter. And anyway, there's some things that happens. It's sad. And I'm bawling. And it's like this, you know, this monster scary sci fi show. And I'm sitting here bawling. So there you go. I don't care.
Doug Cranell 44:19
Hey, little, little tidbit one. I've seen all those episodes. So it is something I watched. And two, here's the cool thing. Now they were my wife and I get our Christmas tree every year. That's where they film the cabin. Ah, and in that series, yeah. And now you can take a tour. You can take a tour of where they film and it's 15 minutes from us. It's in powder Springs, Georgia. Yeah,
Naveh Eldar 44:49
I didn't think I could like you anymore. So I was as possible. This is great. So my dear My friend savion. So my last question As I always like to hear about self care, and it sounds like you have a lot, both in your personal life. And maybe writing is one form of self care for you. But I was wondering, what is it? Something you do for yourself that that helps you take care of you?
Doug Cranell 45:15
Man, you weren't good at this. That is a great question. I used to say I run, but it doesn't look like running at 53 anymore. You know, I was in Nancy and I went to Mexico, we'd never take vacations. So went to Mexico is a nice little Villa kind of thing. And so I want to get out and run right? And they have these beautiful cobbled streets. And, you know, I got pain in my knee and in my back and all that. So so I'm what I think jogging. And this young guy stops. And now my Spanish isn't real good. But he was asking me am I okay? A young fellow was so so concerned about the way I was running. I thought I was injured. So definitely some, some exercise. But Nancy and I live on a little eight acre farm in Douglasville, Georgia, we have sheep and goats and cats and dogs and chickens. And that's a lot of fun for us and just taking care of other creatures that does it for sure. Yeah.
Naveh Eldar 46:28
Nice. Well, the Thank you so much. It's a fascinating, okay, so I didn't tell this. And if people have made it to the very, very end, so I reached out to Griffin, Griffin hamis associates to some of the associates and we're like, hey, would Could you be on this podcast here? previous guests I've had, this is what it's about blah, blah, blah. They were like, Hey, we would love to, but we actually think there's another guy who would be better than us. And then they referred, they referred you to me. And then so we write back and forth. And then you were like, Nah, ha, I think we drank before. And it ends up that we have collaborated in the past. So it's a small world. It's a small world,
Doug Cranell 47:11
we it is a small world. And you know, as soon as I as soon as I connected and I thought this is it makes complete sense. As you can tell another creative right? in our field. It does draw people who are creative. And and I can only say that the you're on my playlist on my wife's playlist. As I said, she's sending the podcast everywhere. And you are gifted at this and they are great podcasts. And I'm so so honored to have a chance to talk with you.
Naveh Eldar 47:43
Well, thank you so much for coming and for doing everything for truly, truly impacting the disability community and all the best ways. And good luck with all of your other side adventures too. I can't read I can't wait to get my hands on one of your books. We'll make sure that happens. find links to Griffin hamis Associates. The work spoken about from the University of Georgia, as well as to Doug's literary page in the episode description. Make sure to follow the landscape on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. In the next episode, I have a great discussion with fellow podcaster Maddie who is the host of the podcast brain fart and she also speaks about her invisible disability. We'll see you then.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai