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Gov. Sununu Confirms Commitment to Jobs for People with Disabilities in New Hampshire

Gov. Christopher Sununu headshot

Gov. Christopher Sununu

Washington, D.C., Oct. 30 – Gov. Christopher Sununu officially has proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in New Hampshire.

“People with disabilities bring a diverse array of talent, vision, and skill to their place of work, their communities, and our state,” said Sununu in the proclamation. “With a growing economy, businesses need talented employees to meet their needs and workplaces that welcome the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, and help to create more inclusive workplaces and a stronger economy.”

This proclamation comes after a year of steady job growth. Last year, people with disabilities gained 1,335 jobs in New Hampshire.

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 88,094 working-age people living with disabilities in New Hampshire. 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.

Among them, 36,745, or 41.7 percent have jobs. According to RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that works to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities, New Hampshire ranks 15th compared to the rest of the country. It is great news for the state that employment has risen, and this month presents the opportunity for even more growth.

“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.”

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. In addition, they are more likely to be loyal to a company once they are hired. 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 New Hampshire’s economy,” said 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.”

Additional research and writing credit go to Heidi Wangelin, Emily Kranking, and Stephanie Farfan.

Meet the Author

Laura Haney

Beginning in seventh grade, Laura Haney ran her own r-word campaigns that eventually turned into inspiration for her to start her own club in high school. She is pursuing a degree in Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University.

3 comments… add one
  • Jennifer Nov 11, 2018, 9:36 am

    Sadly here in NH the NH Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (NHBVR) is still in an Order Of Selection (OOS). More than 700 individuals were placed on a wait list and about only 100 individuals have been removed. Our family have been working with NHBVR for over a year now to access services for our daughter who is 19 years old and has graduated high school (with a certificate of completion). She experiences a significant intellectual disability. We were notified 2 months ago she had come off the OOS, but the bureaucracy of that department has delayed her start with pre-employment transition services (PETS) and she still has not begun. It is so frustrating to wait so long and when we met with our NHBVR counselor she took one look at our daughter and questioned whether working was possible/appropriate. The counselor said that we would have to find and provide support (she would need to work within a supported employment model) because the NHBVR doesn’t provide support. Thank goodness we have advocated tirelessly for our daughter on her school IEP Team. We just couldn’t afford to wait for NHBVR and the school hired a outside consultant a couple years ago and our daughter completed several very successful internships (in a supported employment model) and went on to be hired at Whole Foods in Nashua, NH more than a year and a half ago. She started in the front end and then moved up to work in produce (utilizing) a supported employment model. The experience has been a huge success no thanks to NHBVR. The NHBVR counselor also questioned whether to move forward with NHBVR now that she has a paid job, but no one stays in 1 job their entire life, especially not a first ever job. We want our daughter to continue to explore her interests and job/career paths and further her education (NHBVR refused to pay for any post secondary education because they see her as “too intellectually disabled”. We have alot of work to do here in NH to ensure access to critical employment supports and services.

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