Enable America reports 2011 resulted in more programs to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities than in any previous year.
"Unemployment in the disability community, including the jobless rate for our returning wounded warriors, continues at alarming levels," said Richard Salem, founder and CEO of Enable America. "We are proud of this year's accomplishments, but also understand much more needs to be done in the coming year."
Since its founding in 2002, Enable America has worked to build a network that now includes more than 130 businesses nationwide, each of them committed to diversity in the workplace, and inclusion of people with disabilities.
"Poverty is an increasing reality in America, and many in that situation are disabled, but capable of working and contributing to our economy," Salem said. "Employment is the first step to self esteem and financial independence. That's why we remain dedicated to working with employers, as well as veteran and social service agencies, to provide opportunities and programs than enhance employment and career development.
Career Mentoring Day opportunities and Job Seeker workshops remain at the core of Enable America's programs. Career mentoring days expand experience and provide networking opportunity for a person with a disability, through placement in the workplace alongside company mentors. Job Seeker Workshops match participants with human resource professionals, who provide individual instruction on how to build a career in a difficult job market.
This year more than 20 Career Mentoring Days and Job Seeker Workshops were hosted at companies including Progress Energy, The City of Tampa, Gerdau Steel, Hill-Rom, Lenovo, Rex Healthcare, WakeMed Health and Hospitals, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, SAS, Carolina Hurricanes, Eaton Corporation, WRAL, and IBM. Through support and participation in Enable America programs, each of these companies has demonstrated its commitment to further employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
2011 was also the first time for a new offering, Enable America's Hiring Manager's Training Program. This educational opportunity is for companies looking to overcome obstacles and concerns that may preclude full consideration of the hiring of people with disabilities.
Other Enable America accomplishments this year include:
"With the ten-year anniversary celebration of Enable America coming up in 2012, we look forward to another year of great accomplishment," Salem said. "Many challenges remain, but with growing support from companies committed to a diverse workforce, combined with Enable America's work with the disability community, we know the barriers that keep many people with disabilities from achieving the American Dream will continue to crumble."
Enable America was established in 2002 by attorney Richard Salem as a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities find employment and live independently. The organization's Community Connections, Business Connections, and VetConnect programs unite members of the disability community and business community to raise awareness and increase employment opportunities for the 54 million Americans with disabilities, including our nation's wounded warriors.