Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein announce national keynote speakers for MI Hidden Talent Workshop in Lansing

Free workshop for business leaders to be held May 8 at Lansing Center 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lansing, Mich. – Lt. Gov. Brian Calley today announced keynote speakers and session topics that will be featured at the upcoming statewide MI Hidden Talent disability employment training workshop in Lansing on Monday, May 8.

The workshop will feature former Major League Baseball Pitcher Jim Abbott and retired Walgreens Senior Vice President Randy Lewis, who both have been instrumental in making the case for hiring people with disabilities across the country.

“Jim Abbott and Randy Lewis are both tremendous inclusion advocates who show what happens if you focus on someone’s ability instead of disability,” Calley said. “I look forward to hearing Jim talk about how he overcame his disability to pitch in the major leagues, and also hear Randy talk about changing the culture and strategy for hiring at Walgreens to focus on people with disabilities. The MI Hidden Talent Workshop is a great resource for businesses looking for talented employees to add to their companies and I encourage business leaders and HR professionals to register today.”   

Jim Abbott is a native of Flint who was born without a right hand but overcame obstacles to play baseball for the University of Michigan, pitch for the U.S. Gold Medal Olympic Team in 1988 and played 10 seasons for four different major league teams before ending his big league career in 1999. Abbott has worked with the U.S.  Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy on several disability hiring initiatives. He is now a national motivational speaker.

Randy Lewis was senior vice president of Logistics at Walgreens before retiring in 2013. He pioneered a disability employment model for the company’s distribution centers that resulted in 10 percent of Walgreens’ workforce consisting of people with disabilities. This initiative has been rolled out in Walgreens stores nationwide and has become a model for other employers across the country and abroad. He also is developing an effective low-cost and sustainable disability hiring model for employers.

The second annual workshop, sponsored by DTE Energy and AT&T, will feature training sessions on preparing for cultural shift, accommodations and hiring strategies, employee retention and the Project SEARCH internship program. Attendees will gain strategies and best practices from companies already hiring Michiganders with disabilities.

The free workshop continues Calley and Bernstein’s MI Hidden Talent initiative to increase opportunities for competitive employment for Michiganders with disabilities. Last year’s workshop in Flint drew 275 attendees from more than 100 organizations.

Based on available space, workshop attendance is limited to businesses actively looking to hire people with disabilities. A live stream option will be available at

All general sessions of the workshop will be open to media. Media who wish to attend the workshop must RSVP to Laura Biehl at and present valid press credentials on-site in order to be admitted.

To register or for more information about the workshop, visit