The National Council on Disability recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month calling on stakeholders to redouble their efforts around improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which occurs each October, is to educate the American public about issues related to disability and employment. The theme for this year's observance is "Talent Has No Boundaries: Workforce Diversity Includes Workers with Disabilities."
According to Dr. Fernando Torres-Gil, NCD Vice Chair for Policy, "National disability employment awareness should be an on-going daily activity to ensure that people with disabilities are fully represented in the workforce. Employment numbers for this segment of the population are abysmally low. More needs to be done now to put this population to work. To that end, we're delighted that President Obama on July 26, the 20th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, signed an Executive Order Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, which calls on the Federal Government to become a model employer of people with disabilities."
Ari Ne'eman, NCD Vice Chair for Engagement, had this to say, "The President's executive order is a great first step - it is critical that the federal government serve as a model for the private sector. The services and supports structure for assisting people with significant disabilities in finding and keeping employment is in dire need of modernization, as is our nation's approach toward post-secondary transition for students with disabilities. NCD is looking forward to working with our partners in both Congress and the executive branch to craft practical solutions to these challenges. As Congress prepares to re-authorize critical legislation such as the Workforce Investment Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it is important for people with disabilities to be at the table."
At the end of the month, NCD will host a regional "Earning" policy forum in Detroit, Michigan. The 2.5 day, invitation-only event follows NCD's National Summit on Disability Policy 2010 - Living, Learning, & Earning (July 26-28), during which NCD launched a national dialog on disability policy in the wake of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The regional Earning Forum seeks to build on that event.
The Earning Forum will bring together state and regional thought leaders to present and constructively discuss challenges and best practices, build new and deepen existing partnerships, hear from and engage with federal partners, and learn from one another with the shared goal of improving employment and financial outcomes for people with disabilities. NCD's Earning Forum will bring together leaders from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin from a variety of state agencies, advocacy organizations, providers, and self-advocates, along with federal partners to discuss an array of policy concerns such as integrating VR into the One-Stop systems, creative partnerships in a tough economy, reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, health care reform's impact on employment policy, Employment-First initiatives, and many others.