Josue Romero Diaz loves his job.
So does Opal Young. And Manny Martinez and Collin Watt and — although I didn’t ask each one individually — so too do the other 126 visually impaired and blind people who work at a manufacturing company called Alphapointe in Richmond Hill, Queens.
After all, there just aren’t that many jobs for blind people. Of the 400,000 people who are blind or visually impaired in New York City, more than 70 percent are estimated to be jobless.
So why wouldn’t Josue, Opal, Manny and Collin be happy! And there are fewer jobs for anyone in manufacturing these days, an area of business that’s becoming less and less prevalent in America and even more extinct within the New York City limits.
I write a lot about jobs in this column, mostly digging into statistics from the Labor Department or quoting the opinions of economists. While that’s necessary, it’s also very impersonal.
So I’m occasionally going to get personal and write about individuals, their hopes, their jobs, their careers. Some of these stories might be heartwarming, some inspirational and others just plain strange.
This will be a little change of pace for me as the writer and for you as the reader. As every major league pitcher eventually learns, you can’t always throw fastballs. You have to keep the reader guessing.