Washington, D.C., Oct. 12 – Gov. Brian Sandoval has proclaimed October 2018 to be Disability Employment Awareness Month in Nevada.
“Those with disabilities are entitled to full inclusion in our communities,” writes Sandoval in his proclamation. “All persons, regardless of their conditions or abilities, should have equal access and equal opportunity in the workplace.”
This proclamation affirms the legacy of Sandoval’s past efforts on jobs for Nevadans with disabilities. Throughout his time in office, he has worked with major employers such as Starbucks on innovative employment strategies to empower job seekers with disabilities.
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 198,826 working-age people with disabilities living in Nevada. That total 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.
Of that number, 83,453 people have jobs, giving the state a disability employment rate of 46 percent. According to RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that works to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities, Nevada ranks 13th 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 went on to say, “People with disabilities deserve equal opportunity to earn an income and achieve independence just like anyone else.”
Large companies such as Starbucks have been successfully hiring people with disabilities in Nevada. According to the Carson Valley Times, similar companies have expanded employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Sandoval has been part of the Starbucks movement to implement innovative strategies to integrate people with disabilities into the community workforce. At Starbucks’ Carson Valley roasting and distribution facility, interns with disabilities are given training that builds marketable skills and helps people find employment upon completion of the internship. According to John Kelly, senior vice president of Global Public Affairs & Social Impact, hiring people with disabilities at Starbucks is more than just the right thing to do – it positively impacts the company’s bottom line.
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, UPS, IBM, Starbucks and Walgreens 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 Nevada’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.”