The JJs List Blog

Google Chicago & JJ’s List Talk Tech and Disability

Posted by on September 25, 2012 - 5 Comments

Alec MacKenzie, a JJ's List Disability Awareness Player This is a guest blog post by Alec MacKenzie. Alec is a student at Oakton Community College, and an occasional contributor to JJ’s List. He hopes to finish his Associate’s Degree in the summer of 2013, and pursue an occupation in either Human Services or Social Sciences. Alec also recently joined the JJ’s List Disability Awareness Players.


On July 27, our tech non-profit, JJ’s List, visited Google’s Chicago office. Hosted by Director of Industry and Retail Mr. John Breen, we took a tour of the facility, had lunch in the spacious cafeteria; along with its nutritious food, and discussed business for a possible collaboration between the two Internet companies.

When first stepping into Google’s office, I immediately felt welcome with a calm, creative environment from both the office and their staff. After we all signed in, we were greeted by John, and were given a tour of the facility; which started with a live view of hundreds, if not, thousands of Google searches on an HDTV. Other cool features included a mini-kitchen/break room, and Tech Stop, a little repair area for the many high-tech gizmos of Google’s employees. At Tech Stop, the employees can relax on comfy big bean chairs, and listen to music on Pandora while their devices are being repaired.

According to Google, “10% of the world’s population of 650 million people lives with a disability”, and are “the world’s largest minority.” JJ’s List hopes to work with Google to improve disability awareness throughout the Internet, and through real world experiences.

Google Diversity Poster - Disability

After lunch, we had a lengthy discussion with Mr. Breen on how we may work together farther down the road. To start, we shared our story of how a single review sparked change within Glenview State Bank, where they retrofitted their entrance to become more accessible to people with both physical and mental disabilities. We also discussed the possbility of having JJ’s List conduct one of our signature Disability Awareness Trainings for Businesses at the Google Chicago office for all its employees, as well as having reviews tie in with Google Maps listings.

We made sure we were prepared for this meeting by conducting research on the company beforehand. Fortunately, JJ’s List already uses Google’s products and services on a regular basis, and they are an integral part of how we run. From Gmail to Drive, we have all benefited in some way from using these free services. For example, I use Google Drive (another name for Google Docs) to update documents, such as research papers, on the go with my Android smartphone or tablet (both of which are owned by Google).

Google Chicago Visit

In closing, I wish for nothing but the best for both JJ’s List and Google in their newly established relationship. I believe these two Internet-based companies can really go far with the services they provide both online and offline. In my opinion, by working together with specific improvements in both companies’ software, and plenty of diverse community interaction, this can help bring massive change, and much needed attention to the disability community.


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Jake says:
Sep 25, 2012

Great post Alec! I totally agree. The trip down to Google’s Chicago office was very enjoyable and informative.

Sarah says:
Sep 25, 2012

Nice good Alec. I enjoyed myself you captive the whole day. I was reliving it as I read it.

Sharyn Stockdale says:
Sep 25, 2012

Very well written Alec!! I am very proud of you!!

John Breen says:
Sep 27, 2012

What a great day indeed. Awesome recap!

Alec MacKenzie says:
Oct 12, 2012

Thanks so much for the comment everyone! I greatly appreciate them, and I look forward to being involved in future posts. 🙂

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