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Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant Makes New Commitments on Jobs for People with Disabilities

Gov. Phil Bryant

Gov. Phil Bryant

Washington D.C., Oct. 4 – Gov. Phil Bryant proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Mississippi.

According to Gov. Bryant, “workplaces welcoming of the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, are a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy.”

Activities throughout the month are to reinforce the message that people with disabilities are equally up to the task of employment. To do this, the governor “calls upon employers, schools, and other community organizations to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities that advance its important message.”

This proclamation follows a great year of job growth among people with disabilities living in the Magnolia State. 4,739 people with disabilities entered Mississippi’s workforce last year. [continue reading…]

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards Makes New Commitments on Jobs for People with Disabilities

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards

Gov. John Bel Edwards

Baton Rouge, Oct.4 – Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Louisiana. In a signed proclamation, the Governor wrote, “When we diversify our workforce, we create opportunities for growth and improvement – not just for those with disabilities, but for everyone.”

Edwards also proclaimed, “Workplaces who welcome of the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, are a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy.” [continue reading…]

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner Makes New Commitments on Jobs for People with Disabilities

Gov. Bruce Rauner headshot

Gov. Bruce Rauner

Washington D.C., Oct. 4 – Gov. Bruce Rauner has declared October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Illinois.

“This year’s theme America’s Workforce: Empowering All is accordant with the State of Illinois’ dedication to improving the lives of all Illinoisans by employing skilled individuals of all ability levels,” Rauner states.

Throughout this month, Rauner’s objective is to encourage people with disabilities to accomplish their goals of employment with perseverance. Additionally, employers are invited to consider their options when they hire people with disabilities and use their creativity to come up with solutions about accommodations and jobs.

“Workplaces welcoming of the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, are a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy,” Rauner adds.

This proclamation follows a great year of job growth among people with disabilities living in the Prairie State. 9,550 people with disabilities entered Illinois’ workforce last year. [continue reading…]

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal Makes New Commitments on Jobs for People with Disabilities

Gov. Nathan Deal headshot

Gov. Nathan Deal

Atlanta, GA. Oct. 4 – Gov. Nathan Deal has declared October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Georgia. In a signed proclamation, the Governor wrote, “The full inclusion and successful employment of individuals with disabilities are essential to building a robust and competitive workforce.”

Gov. Deal’s proclamation goes on to state, “Georgia is committed to expanding employment opportunities for citizens with disabilities.”

This proclamation follows an outstanding year of job growth among people with disabilities living in the Peach State. Last year, 28,642 people with disabilities entered Georgia’s workforce. [continue reading…]

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson Makes New Commitments on Jobs for People with Disabilities

Governor Asa Hutchinson headshot

Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Washington D.C., Oct. 4 – Gov. Asa Hutchinson has declared October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Arkansas.

“In workplaces all across Arkansas and the United States, talented employees are vital to ensure the success of various corporations, government entities, and private sector organizations,” Hutchinson stated.

Hutchinson invites employers to consider their options when they hire people with disabilities and use their creativity to come up with solutions. By hiring people with disabilities, they are building up the flow of produced work. Like people without disabilities, people with disabilities have special talents that they can contribute to the company.

“People with disabilities offer a wide range of expertise and play an integral role in our efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy,” Hutchinson adds. [continue reading…]

Disabilities Affect 74 Percent of Likely Voters

As National Disability Employment Awareness Month Begins, A Wake-Up Call to Candidates

Washington, D.C., Oct. 1 – It’s the month before the midterm elections and one of the nation’s leading disability organizations has a wake-up call for candidates. “Fully three-quarters of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member, or a close friend with disabilities,” said former Representative and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett. Bartlett is the chairman of RespectAbility, a Washington-based nonpartisan nonprofit that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can participate in all aspects of community.

Steve Bartlett headshot in black suit, white shirt, red tie

Steve Bartlett

“Our survey shows that 74 percent of likely voters are touched by disabilities,” said Bartlett, who was a primary author of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. “Our nation was founded on the principle that anyone who works hard should be able to get ahead in life. These folks deserve an equal opportunity to earn an income and achieve independence just like anyone else. Candidates for office ignore the disability community at their peril.”

According to the Census Bureau, more than 56 million Americans live with some form of disability. This can include visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, visual impairments or hearing loss to people living with invisible disabilities such as learning disabilities, mental health or Autism.

“Of particular note from the survey is that while there are certain issues historically on which people with disabilities feel more strongly than Americans without disabilities, such as healthcare and employment opportunities, they track in a similar way to Americans overall when it comes to their political identity,” noted Meagan Buren, pollster for RespectAbility.

A recent poll of 1000 likely voters shows that fully 34 percent are grouped as swing voters, 36 percent as Democrat and 29 percent as Republican. More than half of Americans with disabilities have reached out to their elected officials or attended a political rally in the recent past versus 39 percent of Americans without a disability or any disability connection. Nearly three-quarters of people with disabilities watch, read or listen to the news 5-7 times a week.

“This is a politically active, swing vote demographic and candidates should take note of important issues they care about, especially around employment opportunities,” Buren added. [continue reading…]

Rep. Brad Sherman Enables People with Disabilities to Advocate for a Better Future

Washington, D.C., Sept. 17 – From journalists to CEOs, influencers from around the nation gathered at the nation’s capital to discuss the advancement of people with disabilities and the future of the disability community at a summit partially made possible by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA). Rep. Sherman has long been an advocate for people with disabilities and shared concrete ideas with the advocates and leaders. He outlined six key steps to build support and progress for important issues: educate, show large support for your issue, identify the opposition to your issue, make a specific request, speak to staff when business is slow, and remember the “virtual circle.”

The summit was organized by RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. While RespectAbility does not lobby Congress, Sherman did talk to summit attendees about “how to lobby when you don’t have a PAC.”

[continue reading…]

Kenneth Marcus Addresses Importance of Inclusion of Students with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Sept. 5 – “Wherever you are, and whatever you do, there is a way of making a contribution if you have the will.”

That was the closing note of Kenneth Marcus’s speech at RespectAbility’s annual summit focused on the future of people with disabilities. “There are many different ways that you can be of public service,” he added.

As a long time civil rights lawyer, Marcus has been an advocate for the disability community for years. From 2004 through 2008, he served as the Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “There was really no area of law that wasn’t pertinent,” Marcus said of his career. The main part of his current job, though, is implementing regulations. “Law enforcement is a big part of what we do.” [continue reading…]

Senators Discuss Opioid Painkillers Overdose Epidemic

Washington, D.C., Oct. 27 – “I woke up in the morning to my wife screaming, ‘Thad, wake up! Thad, wake up!’” said Todd Burke, father of then 22-year-old Thad Burke. The grieving father spoke with a shaky voice through tears to an audience of journalists and advocates live on stage at The Washington Post’s panel on ‘Addiction In America: A Nation Responds’ last week.

Clutched in his hands a tin can of what formerly held protein powder that now held his son’s ashes, Burke shared his story.

Thadeus A. Burke died on Oct. 2, 2016. He was addicted to opioids and overdosed on heroin. He was one of the “estimated 62,000 people who died of a drug overdose in 2016,” according to Lenny Bernstein, a Health and Medicine reporter for The Washington Post.

[continue reading…]

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