In Tuesday’s blog I wrote about my son Ryan’s Workforce Training Program at the Barber National Institute as the first step on his journey to employment. For persons with disabilities, this journey is challenging. We have included persons with disabilities in our schools, yet there remains a lack of inclusion in the workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) news release issued June 8, 2012, only 18% of persons with disabilities are employed. We cannot allow this to continue and must remain vigilant and focused on the task of building a diverse workforce.
President Obama recently proclaimed October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The theme is “A Strong Work Force is an Inclusive Workforce; What Can You Do?” Persons with disabilities have many talents, skills and a demonstrated strong work ethic that leads to success in the work place both for them and their employers.
I believe that each of us should consider this charge. So, “What Can You Do?” You can welcome persons with disabilities as coworkers and recognize each for his or her abilities. Employers, visit the Society for Human Resource Management Disability Employment Resource Page for information on good practices for hiring and supporting persons with disabilities. Businesses in the Erie region can also contact the Supported Employment program at the Barber National Institute at 814-878-4085 or visit the Supported Employment web page.
Let’s rededicate ourselves to recognizing persons with disabilities as valued members of society personally and professionally. Together our future will be brighter and stronger.