Washington, D.C., Oct. 24 – Gov. John C. Carney has proclaimed October 2018 to be Disability Employment Awareness Month in Delaware.
“People with disabilities bring their own unique strengths to the work environments and deserve an equal opportunity to pursue careers and success,” writes Carney in his proclamation. “Employers throughout our state must continue the important work to create positive and inclusive environments for people with disabilities… The State of Delaware is committed to maintaining a workforce that values inclusion, where all Delawareans, no matter their disability, are seen as contributing members of their workplace.”
This proclamation follows a solid year of job growth which saw 1,691 Delawareans with disabilities found new jobs.
Meanwhile, President Trump issued a statement saying that his Administration “reaffirms its support for all the employers who hire Americans with disabilities, providing opportunities for success. It is important that all our Nation’s job seekers and creators are both empowered and motivated to partake in our booming economy, and apply their unique talents and skills to the growing workforce.”
He added, “We recognize the achievements of Americans with disabilities whose contributions in the workforce help ensure the strength of our Nation. We also renew our commitment to creating an environment of opportunity for all Americans and educating people about disability employment issues.”
An annual celebration, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is dedicated to raising awareness about disability employment issues and celebrating the incredible contributions of people with disabilities.
In total, there are 56,546 working-age people with disabilities living in Delaware. That includes people who are blind or deaf or have other visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, as well as people with invisible disabilities including learning disabilities, mental health or Autism.
Out of that total, 20,284 have jobs. According to RespectAbility, a nonprofit that advances opportunities for people with disabilities, Delaware ranks 28th compared to the rest of the country.
“Our nation was founded on the principle that anyone who works hard should be able to get ahead in life,” said Steve Bartlett, the chair of RespectAbility. Bartlett, a former U.S. Congressman, the former Mayor of Dallas and a principal author of the Americans with Disabilities Act continued, “People with disabilities deserve equal opportunity to earn an income and achieve independence just like anyone else.”
When people with disabilities are given access to the workforce, both the individual and the employers benefit. People with disabilities can bring new talents and ways of thinking to the table. Companies such as JP Morgan Chase, Coca-Cola, Walgreens, UPS and IBM practice inclusive hiring and have had great success. As an employer, it is important to consider these talents and advantages when hiring workers.
“People with disabilities bring unique characteristics and talents to Delaware’s economy,” adds Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President of RespectAbility. “They can work in hospitals and hotels, or apply their talents to develop computer software and website design. There are no limits to what they can do.”