Now Showing: Employment Opportunities in the Movie World!

People with disabilities will find meaningful work at Connecticut’s new Prospector Theater.

Mar 11, 2020

(Dean Drobot / Shutterstock.com)

What’s better than a thriving business full of happy employees with a strong work ethic? So we’re pleased to report that a movie theater in Wilton, Connecticut will have just that. The Prospector Theater is a non-profit that strives to provide substantial employment for people with disabilities. It involves them at every level and specialism, from hosting events to programming, landscaping to marketing, and costuming to graphic design. The theater already has one thriving location in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and has been inspired by its real success to open another in neighboring town, Wilton. 

The new Wilton Prospector will offer a range of positions for employees who have a disability. Significantly, instead of using the term “disabled,” the company refers to its employees as “Prospects.” This small tweak helps build confidence and trust among staff and customers.

The Wilton theater is set to open towards the end of 2021. It will bring the design, adaptive technology, and accessibility features of the Ridgefield venue to downtown Wilton in a scaled down but still dynamic “boutique” version. The new theater will feature four screens and upholds “the mission of employing adults with disabilities in an integrated and competitive work environment.”

The flagship location in Ridgefield has been open for over five years and has employed more than 250 Prospects. This equals more than 600,000 hours of employment that help “break down outdated stereotypes about disabilities, and build empathy.” 

Slowly but surely, the Prospector is helping change harmful misconceptions about people with disabilities in the workplace. These preconceived notions may be that disabled workers are less capable, need more ‘hand-holding’ or are slower than their non-disabled counterparts. 

These beliefs are not only inaccurate and hurtful but actually affect the job market for people with disabilities. According to Forbes, in 2018, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 8%. This was twice the rate for people without disabilities!

These stigmas need to change (and change quickly) because one in five people in the US has a disability. Although this represents a large segment of the population, “only one-third of working-age disabled people are employed.”

While underrepresented in the workforce, employees with disabilities bring unique skills to the workplace. They can help enhance a company and increase productivity. Prospects are also extremely reliable and they are more likely to build strong connections with customers.

As thoughtfully stated in the above-mentioned Quartz article, although “employers may just be learning about our capabilities, disabled people are not a tiny minority category. We are woven into the fabric of society, in every industry, every state, every education level. But disabled people often can’t just exist in this world.”

So, if you are in or near Ridgefield, or will be in the Wilton area next year, and are in the mood for a movie, consider visiting The Prospector Theater. You will not only receive great service (and delicious popcorn) but you will be supporting the important work of the Prospects. Keep track of all the exciting developments on their website.

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JACKIE SCHINDLER, CONTIRBUTOR
Jackie Schindler teaches EFL to students between the ages of 5-15. She is passionate about making English relevant, fun and memorable. She always tries to look on the bright side in every situation. She is an avid reader, writer, traveler and always on the hunt for the best iced coffee.