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Elmwood Park Zoo promotes inclusivity among staff, patrons

Elmwood Park Zoo welcomes employees with disabilities
Elmwood Park Zoo welcomes employees with disabilities 01:53

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) -- For Michael Romano, working at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown doesn't feel like a job.

"I like to do my giraffe job in the nice weather days," Romano said. "I get to be outside more."

Before the zoo opened, we joined Romano to find out what he does from day to day.

"I feed giraffes," Romano said. "I like them. I talk to them about the Eagles' Super Bowl."

Romano said he isn't an Eagles fan though, as he likes the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid.

Elmwood Park Zoo is a certified autism center, where inclusivity ranges from the staff to its customers.

"That includes having programming where we allow individuals with all sorts of needs through gates to learn," James Sheard, associate director of guest services at Elmwood Park Zoo, said. "But also have them on the other side and have them be some of our ambassadors."

Like Romano, who has now been with Elmwood Park Zoo for five years.

Romano's employment is part of KenCrest's supported employment program for individuals living with disabilities.

"We are looking to identify a job that will match their individual skills and abilities along with their interests," Jessica Birkmire, director of employment for KenCrest, said.

It's obvious Romano's job at the zoo and his love for the animals is a perfect fit.

"I tell them goodbye, come by and see our giraffes again," Romano said.

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